Walmart and Target have been two of the more significant retailers to track during the pandemic because of their essential retail status. While both saw significant year-over-year growth from 2018 to 2019 in Q1, that visit growth turned to a decline in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. Yet, the picture is far more complex than a simple decline.
With the pandemic leaving a massive impact on the retail sector, much of the discussion has rightfully centered around the huge impact on sales and performance. Yet, coronavirus has affected the way consumers shop as well, and this could potentially last far longer.
Several states have begun reopening their economies and the wider retail ecosystem has been watching closely. While early returns have been mixed in states like Georgia, signs are beginning to appear that could give a strong indication of what path retail’s recovery could take.
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.
With tightening restrictions nationwide, Wholesale and Mass Merchandise traffic is seeing major declines. But are states with partial to no stay-at-home orders experiencing similar traffic patterns as those heavily hit by coronavirus?
Following initial surges in traffic, the Wholesale and Mass Merchandise sectors saw visits decline to levels significantly lower than their norm. Yet, much of these drops have been self-imposed, with Costco, Walmart and Target all imposing restrictions on in-store traffic.
There is a downside to stocking up for the long haul. Once you have all the things you need, there is little need for more visits. While some expected that the thrill of being able to get out could overcome a lowering demand for actual items, this may not be the case after all.
The coronavirus is having a huge impact on the wider retail economy, and it is likely that this effect will only grow in magnitude as CDC recommendations become stricter. However, there are sectors that are still performing well amidst the pandemic and there are critical takeaways. And these lessons don’t just apply in the face of a once-in-a-century virus, but also during more regular disruptions like inclement weather, economic downturns and more.
When discussing the impact of the Coronavirus on wider economic trends, the focus will likely center around hard-hit sectors like travel. But there are also areas of economic resilience, at least in the early days.
It’s always risky to bet against the king, as few in retail boast the same record as Target over the last few years. Following weaker than expected holiday earnings, excitement around the company tapered off. But is this deserved?