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.
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
Sports Away: Lululemon & Nike’s Momentum Continues
Summer Visits Heat Up For Recreation and Outdoor Gear Chains
No CSS overwrite - July 2023 Office Index Recap
Staging - August 2023 Mall Indec
Mid-Atlantic Grocery Deep Dive
Experiential Chains Heating Up This Summer
Petco Goes Big by Going Small
Ulta Beauty: Leading the Discretionary Pack
Discount and Dollar Chains Continue to Thrive
Summer of Sports: DICK’s Sporting Goods and Hibbett Sports
Off-Price: Succeeding Into Summer
The Anchor Recap: July 2023
Superstores Maintaining Pandemic Gains Amidst Economic Headwinds
2023: Home Improvement at the Halfway Point
July 2023 Office Index Recap Mall Index: July 2023 Recap
widget test
The Taylor Swift Visit Lift
Southwestern Grocery Dive
July 2023 White Paper Recap: Halfway Point Review & Quarterly Index
Yum! Brands: Driving Dining Visits
Slurpees and Summer Movies Stimulate Consumer Foot Traffic
Cool Beans: Summer Coffee Update
Checking In on Back to School 2023
Crocs and New Balance Tip The Scales
Burger Bliss: Shake Shack and In-N-Out Stacking Visits
Chipotle & McDonald's Continue to Reign Supreme
Vibenomics and Partner to Enhance Retail Media In-Store Measurement
California Grocers Here We Come!
Marriott’s Different Audiences
Bonchon and Kura Sushi Thrive in the Fast-Casual Scene
A Shoe In: Footwear Climbs to the Top
Cheers! Raising a Glass to Beverage Retail Office Index: June 2023 Recap Mall Index June 2023 Recap – A Turn of the Tide and a Dive into Open-Air Lifestyle Centers
Local Kitchens: Redefining the Restaurant
Unlocking Urban Insights: The Value in Manhattan’s Employees
Ohio State Parks On The Rise
How is Inflation Impacting the High-Income Shoppers?
Five Fast-Growing Dining Chains
What To Expect From Prime Day and July Sales Events in 2023
The State Of Fashion: How Are Apparel Retailers Faring in 2023?
2023’s Latest Dining Success Story: GEN Korean BBQ House
The NBA Finals: A Location Intelligence Perspective
Moving the Market: The Impact of Domestic Migration on Housing Costs
Post-Pandemic Museum Update
The Darden-est Things
The Enduring Demand for Urban and Suburban Retail
Leveraging Data to Evaluate the Impact of Municipal Investments
Trader Joe's Success Amidst Food Inflation and Changing Consumer Behavior Office Index: May 2023 Recap
Fitness at its Fittest: Staying Strong in 2023
Movie Theaters, Off-Price, and Home Improvement: May 2023 Recap Mall Index - May 2023 Recap
What’s Working for Bath & Body Works?
Why Are Specialty Grocers Thriving in 2023?
The CAVA Craze: A Location Intelligence Perspective on the Mediterranean Marvel
How Will Primark’s US Expansion Impact Target?
All Eyes on Eyewear
Northwestern U.S. Grocery Dive
Return of the Lunch: Salad Chains Are Thriving
Retail Media Networks – Off the Beaten Track
Bet Your Bottom Dollar: Discount and Dollar Stores Drive Foot Traffic
Ulta & Lululemon: Discretionary Spending On The Up
The Score After Q1: Sporting Goods Chains
Who Uses NYC Airports: Biting Into The Big Apple’s Main Transport Hubs
Off Price: Strength in The Face of Retail Challenges
Visits Improve for Home Improvement
Walmart, Target & Wholesalers in Q1 2023 – The Return of Mission-Driven Shopping?
Department Store Roundup: Q1 2023 Office Index: April 2023 Recap Mall Index, April 2023 – A Rebound on the Horizon?
How Will Bed Bath & Beyond’s Bankruptcy Impact the Retail Space?
Buffet Restaurants: Filling Up on Foot Traffic
Thrift Stores: Vintage Visits Drive New Age in Apparel
The Windy City: A Hub of Post-Pandemic Opportunity
Diving into Dining Traffic - Q1 2023
Bring On The Joe
A Dollar (or more) For Your Thoughts: Five Below and pOpshelf
Dining Out With The Cheesecake Factory
Retail Foot Traffic Recap – March 2023
Digging Into 2023: McDonald’s and Chipotle Update Office Index: March 2023 Recap
How Did Key Retail Categories Perform in Q1 2023?