Placer Bytes – Popeyes, Lucky’s Closing, Triple Five in Miami

Popeyes Continues to Ride the Chicken Sandwich Wave

There may never be a more important tweet for the QSR industry than the one that set off the Chicken Wars in the summer of 2019.

But far more important than how it all began, is Popeyes continuing ability to benefit from that initial spike. Following the dramatic jump in early November when the Chicken Sandwich was relaunched, visits began to return back to normal levels. Yet, instead of falling all the way back to the rates pre-summer 2019, the excitement persisted. 

On Friday, January 17th, visits rose 59.3% above the baseline for the period between January 1st, 2017 and January 20th, 2020. Analyzing that same period, every week in January has come in at least 20% or more above the baseline for weekly traffic.

Comparing Popeyes’ traffic to competitor KFC shows the impact of the product and the surrounding buzz even more clearly. Where Popeyes trailed its poultry rival throughout 2017, 2018 and most of 2019, the new product put the brand on nearly equal footing with KFC. Popeyes’ traffic even surpassed KFC’s nationwide in December and early January.

Lucky’s is Closing Stores – Who Stands to Gain?

Lucky’s Market is closing over 30 locations including all but one of its Florida branches. It was also announced that ALDI and Publix would be taking over 11 of those locations. But are these brands the right fit to fill Lucky’s spot?

From an initial look at the overall demographic data for the chains on a nationwide level, the overlap looks closest to ALDI. Yet, digging into Florida data shows a different picture. Analyzing the Household Income of visitors shows that Lucky’s shoppers have a far greater overlap with the Publix than ALDI.

Florida Cross-Shopping metrics from June through December 2019 further demonstrate this. 11.3% of Lucky’s customers also visited a Publix on the same day during that period, with only 1.9% visiting an ALDI location on the same day as a Lucky’s visit. For context, this number also falls behind BJ’s Wholesale Club, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.

While Publix is clearly the dominant grocery chain in Florida – which helps buoy the numbers – the data indicates that the Lucky’s Florida closures should provide a direct and immediate benefit. Even more, while ALDI was quick to take up several locations, the Cross-Shopping trends show that other players, like Trader Joe’s or top wholesalers, could see a benefit as well.

Why Miami For Triple Five?

The Mall of America is a national institution, the American Dream Mall is abuzz ahead of its true launch later this quarter, but the next location for Triple Five could be its most ambitious. So why South Florida?

Obviously, the weather is a draw as is the idea of tapping into an existing tourist market to drive more attention and excitement. But beyond the theme park and the extravagant extras that will no doubt garner the most buzz, South Florida may also be appealing for its retail pull.

The Aventura Mall, with a bevy of high-end retail tenants, has seen ongoing traffic growth since 2017, with 2019 consistently producing months with significant year-over-year growth. Should this audience find its way to Triple Five’s next location, the combination of retail and experience could find its ultimate base.

Will the Popeyes’ reign continue? Can Publix find even more success post-Lucky’s? Will Miami prove the ideal home for a Triple Five project? Find out at Placer.ai.

Ethan Chernofsky

Ethan Chernofsky

Ethan is the VP Marketing at Placer.ai and loves helping people reach their goals with location analytics.

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