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Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive

by 
Shira Petrack
 on 
May 14, 2024
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive

As visits to Superstores continue to rise, we analyzed recent foot traffic data for Walmart, Target, Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale Club and dove into Walmart’s Q1 2024 regional performance.  

Key Takeaways 

  • Wholesale chains generally outperformed classic superstore banners during the first four months of the year, with Q1 2024 visits to Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s Wholesale Club up 8.9%, 6.1%, and 5.6%, respectively, on a YoY basis. 
  • Visits to Target and Walmart also increased in Q1 2024 (3.5% and 3.9% YoY), respectively.
  • Walmart, by far the largest retailer in the space, is particularly strong in the South and seems to still have room to grow – especially in the Midwest and Northeast.  

Wholesale Club Lead Visit Growth, but Classic Superstores Maintain Overall Visit Edge

Wholesale chains – which receive about 20% of all visits to Walmart, Target, Costco Wholesale, Sam’s Club (owned by Walmart), and BJ’s Wholesale Club – generally outperformed classic superstore banners Target and Walmart during the first four months of the year. Visits to all three wholesale clubs analyzed were up every month on a year-over-year (YoY) basis, with Costco maintaining its lead in the space. Some of the success of wholesale clubs may be due to the makeup of their visitor base – Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s tend to serve a large share of consumers from family households, and these may be opting for more buying in bulk in an effort to stretch budgets. 

But visits to more classic superstores are also heating up – following a muted performance in January, when an arctic blast kept many at home, foot traffic to Target grew YoY in February, March, and April. 

Walmart also experienced visit growth for most of the period, despite the slight dip in April due to calendar shifts: Visits for the superstore giant dropped 8.5% in YoY for the week of April 1st - 8th 2024 compared to the traffic surges of Easter week 2023 (April 3rd - 9th 2023), impacting the overall monthly numbers, but visits returned to growth during the last two weeks of April (4.3% and 4.0% YoY, respectively, for the weeks of April 15th - 21st and 22nd -28th).

Diving into Walmart

And while Walmart’s growth may not be quite as impressive as that of smaller superstores, the company has retained its position as the largest retailer in the U.S. Nationwide, the Walmart banner receives over 60% of all visits to Target, Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club, and BJ’s, and in most of the south, the superstore’s relative visit share exceeds 70%. In a handful of states – including the retailer’s home state of Arkansas along with Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, and Wyoming – 4 out of every 5 visits to the five superstore chains analyzed go to Walmart. 

Walmart’s Potential to Grow Even Larger 

And even as Walmart optimizes its fleet, analyzing the retailer’s Q1 2024 YoY visit increases by region reveals pockets of major growth throughout the country. In addition to the 2-5% traffic increases across most of the South – where the retailer already dominates the superstore space – Walmart is also posting impressive visit increases in the Northeast, Midwest, and Northwest, with the strongest growth in Minnesota, Wyoming, and the Dakotas. 

As budget-strapped consumers continue looking for bargains, the legacy retail giant may still have room to grow even larger in 2024. 

Superstores Set to Maintain Their Momentum in 2024

Superstore and wholesale club visits are on the rise as U.S. shoppers continue to defy predictions of a consumer spending slowdown while still looking for ways to stretch their budgets. 

Will these trends continue as the year progresses? 

Visit placer.ai to find out. 

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