Placer Bytes: Kicking Off 2020 With Bed Bath & Beyond

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Happy 2020! And to ring in the new year properly, we’ve changed out Placer Bytes quite dramatically by substituting a ‘y’ for the ‘i’. How we missed this obvious pun for this long is as disappointing to us as it must be for you. But onwards into 2020 with this critical error finally corrected. 

Bed Bath & Beyond Heads Into Earnings

One of the early retail earnings of 2020 will be Bed Bath & Beyond and from a data perspective, things don’t look amazing. Looking at the period from November 2017 through November 2019, there is a clear and ongoing decline in visits. Analyzing the first 11 months of 2019 shows that each month saw a year-over-year decline apart from an industry-wide retail spike in August. Much of this is clearly the result of store closures, but there are obviously other challenges impacting the brand.

Targeting Target

The light at the end of the tunnel seems to be a leadership change. The addition of ex-Target executive Mark Tritton as CEO created a very positive sentiment in late 2019, and even a rumor about adding former Target CFO Cathy Smith caused the stock to pop. Why? Because Target may be the perfect North Star for Bed Bath & Beyond.

Beyond being one of the undisputed leaders of offline retail, Target has found a powerful growth channel by pushing upmarket. From collaboration with Disney and Toys-R-Us to multi-format stores that enable it to get closer to high-income audiences, the approach has been paying off. And this concept may work even better for Bed Bath & Beyond. Bed Bath & Beyond sees 26.6% of its audience earn more than $100,000 per year, above Target’s 24.4%. Should Bed Bath & Beyond succeed in implementing similar strategies? A high-end focus could help drive more visits, especially if the brand can effectively implement a similar strategy to optimize the offering for major cities.

Walgreens Gears Up for Change

Setting the standard as the Dow’s biggest loser in 2019 is a rough way to end the year. Early 2020 earnings don’t look like they’ll provide massive support with visits seeing consistent decreases in 2019, largely hastened by the closure of hundreds of locations. Looking at the first 11 months of the year, each month in 2019 saw a decrease in visits compared to the same month in 2018.

Yet, closing stores may provide a needed boost. Pharmacies have a tendency to over-expand, so focusing on optimizing a retail footprint could provide a huge advantage.

Will 2020 be the year of Walgreens turnaround? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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