Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Placer Bytes: Office Supply Opportunity & Market by Macy's

Ethan Chernofsky
February 4, 2021
Placer Bytes: Office Supply Opportunity & Market by Macy's

In this Placer Bytes, we dive into the office supplies sector and the data from Macy’s outdoor concept - Market by Macy’s.

Office Supply Wars?

While not quite as catchy as the Chicken Wars the battle for supremacy in office supplies warrants notice, especially with Office Depot recently rejecting a Staples acquisition offer. Looking at both brands, there is a clear narrative guiding the conversation around the sector - how can it survive? And there is some legitimacy to this concerned perspective. Average monthly visits for the two brands were down 7.4% and 5.7% respectively in 2019, and 19.0% and 21.2% respectively in 2020. Now clearly the latter was affected by COVID, but even pre-pandemic January and February marked significant year-over-year losses for the two brands.

So what’s the upside? Just as the home has become a more central focus driving massive surges to brands from Home Depot to At Home, the rise of working from home, could drive a similar rebound for the office supply sector. And the data lends this concept some validity as well. The year-over-year visit gap in December for both brands was the lowest it had been since the beginning of the pandemic. Staples saw visits down just 5.5% year over year, while Office Depot was down 9.5%. For both, it marked the second-best visit mark of the year apart from February - which benefited from an extra day in 2020.  And the trend could already be seen in the spring - prompting us to place them on a list of brands to watch.

And weekly visit numbers make the prediction seem even sounder. Since seeing visits drop severely alongside other retail categories as COVID cases surged in November, both brands have seen steady and fairly consistent recoveries. For Staples especially, the end of year momentum carried into 2021. The weeks beginning December 28th, January 4th, and January 11th saw visits down just 9.3%, 5.9%, and 1.7% respectively continuing to shrink the visit gap. 

This may also shed light into why Staples was so keen on acquiring its competitor. While Staples holds a much larger visit share, the rate of return may be giving the brand more confidence that it can in fact compete with digital pressures from Amazon and a wider consensus that the overall sector could be in trouble. And considering the latest visit data, they just might be correct.

Market by Macy’s - Redefining the Macy’s Mix?

Macy’s recently announced the launch of a second Market by Macy’s concept in Texas, apparently signifying the success of the first, which was launched in February. This is part of a wider rightsizing effort, one that Macy’s appears to be handling very strategically, where the retailer is launching outdoor locations while also closing existing branches. But what did the first Market by Macy’s location do to drive the initial excitement?

When the location first launched, visits outpaced those of other apparel retailers in the Southlake Town Square shopping area. Unfortunately, that initial excitement was unable to last as it coincided with the onset of the pandemic, pushing visits to plummet in March and April. Yet, upon the brand’s recovery, visits hit a steady pace before surging in the holiday period, again ahead of other retailers in the same area.

Looking more closely at this key holiday period, we compared performance to other apparel retailers and other nearby Macy’s locations. Critically, without year-over-year data it is hard to make an exact comparison, but the differences are still enlightening. When taking the 11 weeks from the week of November 2nd through the week beginning January 11th, average weekly visits to Market by Macy’s that were 54.0% and 227.1% higher than two other major nearby apparel retailers. And this shows why the brand is so excited about the potential of outdoor locations - they enable the brand to reach audiences in different locations where they could potentially outperform. However, during this same period, the location saw 63.9% less average weekly visitors than a group of traditional Macy’s locations. 

Does this mean that the new format is doomed? Of course not. But it does likely mean that the focus of these specific locations will be different than traditional locations. If utilized properly, this could enable Macy’s to reach different parts of its vast market with a more focused and tailored approach, optimizing everything from the size of the space to the merchandise available.

Taking this idea further would indicate that what we are seeing with Macy’s is likely a move to better focus its retail fleet. This push to optimize via rightsizing and new formats, if done effectively, could be exceptionally exciting as it would allow the brand to maximize the reach of its standard retail format while adding a new element to its retail mix - one that can be targeted to specific locations and audiences. Additionally, if the latter effort works, it could also filter back to the standard department store fleet driving more innovative approaches to how those locations operate. All in all, it speaks to an important test that could help the brand brighten its future outlook.

How will the office supply battle shake out? Will Macy’s find strength in its optimization efforts? Visit to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023 Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish
White Paper Recap: October 2023
Coffee Giants Brewing Up Business
Popeyes and Burger King Lead the Way
Diving into Yum!
Looking Ahead to Black Friday 2023
Blockbusters Drive Movie Theater Comeback
Crocs and Boot Barn: Shoe-Ins for Success
McDonald’s and Chipotle's Winning Recipe
The State Of Steak: Checking in With Texas Roadhouse
Pleasant Pastimes: Pickleball Potential Proves Potent
Who’s Driving Downtown Manhattan’s Weekend Revival?
Diving into Downtown Manhattan Foot Traffic Trends
Rite Aid: Rightsizing Right
Major League Soccer: Its Die-Hard and Casual Fans
The Anchor Recap: September 2023 Office Index: September 2023 Recap
Placer Mall Index Recap: September 2023
September White Paper Recap
The Consumer Habits of College Students
JCPenney: Rightsizing and Revitalizing
Pent-Up Demand Ahead of October Sales Events
4 Strategies Retailers are Using to Drive Traffic to Their Venues
5 Key Regional Grocery Players Impressing in 2023
Upscale Kitchenware Trending Up
Costco Finds More Room for Growth
Four C-Store Chains Making an A-Grade
National Parks + Outdoor Summer Activities
Diving Into Darden: Summer 2023 Update
The Summer Event Effect
Messi: Massive in Miami
Looking Back on Back to School 2023
The Anchor Recap: August 2023 Office Index: August 2023 Recap Mall Index: August 2023 Recap White Paper Recap: August 2023
Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Strikes Again
Big Scoop: We All Scream For Ice Cream