Placer Bytes: Warby Parker and Nordstrom/ASOS

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In this Placer Bytes, we dive into a retailer seemingly at the height of its powers and another that may be on the path to a serious rebound.

Warby’s Offline Takeover

For a digitally native company ahead of an expected IPO, plans to potentially open hundreds of stores are far from a given. Yet, Warby Parker has become one of the prime examples of the importance and value of owned retail. The eyewear brand has seen visits rebound very strongly during the recovery with visits up 75.6% and 48.1% in May and June of 2021 compared to the equivalent months in 2019.

Looking at the visit trajectory since the start of 2020 shows just how heavily the pandemic impacted Warby visits. Yet, even more impressively, it shows just how rapidly the brand has been able to recover to a pace of growth once again. And this expansion will provide more than just places to buy Warby Parker products. The marketing and logistical value of these locations will help drive more customers over time while cutting down on the costs of returns and last mile distribution and enabling more expansive offerings in the future. 

Nordstrom Battling Back

Nordstrom announced that it would be acquiring a minority stake in four fashion brands owned by ASOS with the likely goal of finding trendier brands that appeal to a younger demographic. This move appears to be part of a wider comeback that the brand is driving amid concerns of diminishing appeal. 

And a wider comeback it is. Visits to Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack locations have been stronger in recent weeks than at any point since the start of the pandemic. Visits to Nordstrom locations were down just 0.5%, 1.8% and 2.2% respectively the weeks beginning June 14th, 21st and 28th when compared to the equivalent weeks in 2019, while Rack visits were down just 4.5%, 4.2% and 11.6% those same weeks. Should the pace of recovery continue, Nordstrom could be positioned for an exceptional and critical Back-to-School season.

Will Warby Parker’s offline focus drive impact? Can Nordstrom maintain its recovery pace? Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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