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Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update

Bracha Arnold
December 6, 2022
Placer Bytes: Nike, lululemon, and GameStop Update

This Placer Bytes takes a look at three very different companies – Nike, lululemon, and GameStop – to see how they fared over the holidays and what lies ahead.

Nike: Retail Ecosystem Winning Foot Traffic

Nike has undergone quite a few shifts in recent years, including its pivot away from wholesale to focus on its own retail ecosystem, including standalone Nike stores, Converse, Hurley, and Nike Factory Store. The company’s investments in owned distribution channels include leaning into experimental and experiential retail with its new Nike Rise, House of Innovation, and small-format Nike Live concepts. Nike has also created an integrated digital and physical shopping experience, bringing a digital CEO to help expand and increase the company’s digital presence, whether online or in-app. 

And it may be this commitment to innovation and evolution that’s keeping visits to Nike impressively elevated. Foot traffic was up both year-over-year (YoY) and year-over-three-years (Yo3Y), with sales increasing 18% YoY and 145% Yo3Y, although some of this growth can be attributed to store fleet expansion – the chain grew from 29 Nike Brand in-line stores in 2019 to 48 in 2022. The chain is also betting that merging its digital and brick-and-mortar platforms is the way forward, and is planning on opening around 200 new stores equipped with digital capabilities.

Lululemon: Continuing to Expand

Lululemon, the Canadian athletic-wear superstar, has had a great few years, including 2022, with Yo3Y foot traffic growth almost every month this year. And while YoY visits lagged slightly in October and November, remembering the comparison is to a particularly strong 2021 puts the dip into context. And even slightly lowered YoY foot traffic couldn’t stop the brand from winning the early holiday shopping season – spending at the retailer (both on and offline) between November 1st and 16th grew 17% YoY and 86% Yo3Y.

Lululemon focuses on experience and product innovation – it recently announced a sneaker line for women. The brand is also planning a more aggressive push into the menswear category, and its recently unveiled Hike product collection for both men and women may help bridge that gender gap and increase sales and visits further. 

GameStop: From Memes to NFTs

GameStop, established in the 1980s, is the world’s largest consumer electronics and video game retailer, boasting nearly 5,000 locations worldwide. Until early 2021, the company seemed to be headed in the same direction as many dedicated electronic retailers, reporting heavy losses and closing hundreds of stores. All that changed in January 2021 as retail traders rallied around the stock, propelling it to unseen heights and nearly crashing several online trading platforms. 

And though the stock’s volatility has cooled, the company seems to be benefitting from the new attention – and valuation. The chain issued new shares during the height of the GameStop meme stock frenzy and is currently sitting on a surplus of cash as a result. The extra funds have allowed the company to focus on partnerships and building out its e-commerce platforms in a bid to capitalize on the current momentum and excitement. 

Still, in a world where a significant percentage of electronics are purchased online, brick-and-mortar retailers may need an external push to get customers through the doors. For GameStop, that push may be the Black Friday and holiday shopping season – November visits to the retailer were significantly higher than any week from August 1st. Weekly visits to GameStop during the week of Black Friday 2022 (November 21st) jumped 23.1% from the previous week, following a steady increase in visits – the week of November 7th saw visit growth of 12.9% from the week before. This momentum should continue into the winter holiday season as parents pick up the highly coveted PlayStation 5 for their kids. 

The holiday shopping season is continuing to pick up steam, and consumers looking for a special gift or seeking a unique retail experience may boost visits to these three retailers even further. 

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