Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In

Placer Bytes: Retail's Kings & Popeyes on the Rise

Ethan Chernofsky
April 27, 2020
Placer Bytes: Retail's Kings & Popeyes on the Rise

Walmart and Target are dominant forces in the retail sector that seem to only grow stronger over time. Popeyes is a brand that reached new heights in QSR in 2019, and has maintained that strength well into 2020.

We dove into some fascinating - and impressive - new data from both brands.

Kings of Retail See a Positive Sign

Target and Walmart have followed similar patterns thus far in the crisis, with early year-over-year growth in weekly visits hitting a peak in the second week of March, before dropping into early April. And both have seen a similar flattening of drops in the last week of March and the first two weeks of April. Though both have still seen year-over-year declines, the pace has definitely slowed. 

Target and Walmart have followed similar patterns thus far in the crisis, with early year-over-year growth in weekly visits hitting a peak in the second week of March, before dropping into early April. And both have seen a similar flattening of drops in the last week of March and the first two weeks of April. Though both have still seen year-over-year declines, the pace has definitely slowed. 

And the change isn’t limited to a year-over-year growth perspective, but also in the week-over-week changes that both brands have seen. In fact, in the second week of April, both brands saw week-over-week growth for the first time since early March. Though the increases were just 1.3% and 1.0% for Walmart and Target respectively, they still supported a wider feeling that these brands have reached their floor for the period. And with the trend continuing at an even greater magnitude in the third week of April - with week over week growth of 12.1% and 19.4% for Walmart and Target, respectively - the signs of a rebound are certainly present.

This flat traffic is a tremendous sign of the continued resonance and strength of both brands especially considering they have both placed serious limitations on in-store traffic across the country. And it doesn’t appear to be slowing down.

A Regional Perspective

Looking at week-over-week data from key states - New York, Arizona, Florida and Texas - shows both brands continuing to show a positive trajectory three weeks into April. In both Arizona and Texas, Target showed increases of more than 20%, with a likelihood that these jumps would have come a week earlier, if at a lower magnitude - were it not for store closures on Easter.

For Walmart, the same pattern held with the third week of April seeing traffic jumps in all four states, though the magnitude was slightly decreased by the week earlier being stronger because stores were open on Easter.

And taking a nationwide year-over-year perspective shows the trend even more. While Target is still operating far below its norm when looking at data from January 2018 through April 20th, 2020 it is clearly bouncing back for the first time since the pandemic began to affect the US in earnest. In fact, were it not for the fact that the third week of April aligned with Easter 2019, year over year declines would likely have decreased significantly.

And the same held true for Walmart with visits even coming within striking distance of weeks in early 2018. And while overall visits for the brand are still down year over year - also heavily impacted by a later Easter 2019 - the trend is bringing normal trends back within reach.

Is retail fully back? No. Does the data indicate that consumers are likely to release pent up demand for well-positioned retailers when restrictions are removed? Yes.


Admittedly, we have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with Popeyes, but the brand is simply too fascinating to ignore for long. And, earlier this week a colleague shared a screenshot of its performance from our COVID-19 Retail Tracker and we saw something impressive, year-over-year growth for the first time since mid-March. 

In fact, on the 15th, 16th and 17th of April, the brand saw year-over-year traffic increases of 27.7%, 9.3%, and 15.4% compared to the equivalent days in 2019. And this is happening when in-store dining has been closed. 

There are likely a few contributing factors. Firstly, drive-thru and takeaway options can still be longer than the threshold we use to count a ‘visit’. Secondly, it does appear that people are ordering their food and then consuming the meal in the car. This bodes incredibly well for a brand already experiencing massive growth on the heels of the Chicken Sandwich phenomenon it drove in late 2019 making it one of the most exciting brands to monitor in the post-coronavirus period.

There is an important caveat here. While growth is obviously impressive no matter the scenario, the pace of growth is not on par with the huge numbers the brand was seeing earlier in the year. For example, on the first Saturday of February 2020, the brand saw a year-over-year increase of 40.0% in daily visits. So, essentially the jump Popeyes experienced in late 2019 has been so powerful and has continued to drive growth amid coronavirus, though not at the same levels as before the crisis.

Has the General Merchandise sector found its tipping point? Will the Popeyes reign continue? Check-in at 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.
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
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