As was the case for most retailers, visits to Bath & Body Works took a hit in the early days of the pandemic. But the retailer quickly bounced back as consumers stuck at home prioritized self-care and fragrances for their living spaces. And now, despite inflationary headwinds curtailing consumer spending over the past several months, visits to Bath & Body Works appear to be weathering the storm. We dove into the location intelligence metrics for Bath & Body Works to take a closer look at the trends driving visits to the body care and fragrances retailer.
Putting in the Work
Analysis of visits to Bath & Body Works compared to a January 2019 visit baseline reveals that foot traffic coming out of the pandemic remained strong. And focusing on the all-important holiday seasons – when visits to the retailer are at their peak – it’s clear that demand for Bath & Body Works is continuing to grow beyond pre-pandemic levels. December visit change to Bath & Body Works relative to a January 2019 baseline outpaced December 2019 (231.9%) in both December 2021 (243.7%) and December 2022 (256.1%).
Part of Bath & Body Works’ success can be attributed to its strategy of meeting consumers where they are. The retailer – which was at one point predominantly located in malls – opened 16 new off-mall locations in Q1 2023 and is now evenly distributed among off-mall and in-mall locations. The company plans to continue investing in the off-mall format with the goal of two-thirds of its stores being off-mall in the future.
Celebrating Bath & Body
Zooming in on recent visit trends shows that in addition to annual holiday growth, Bath & Body Works is able to drive visits during other significant retail moments. The retailer experienced monthly year-over-year (YoY) visit growth since the start of 2023, despite the difficult retail environment, and Mother’s Day 2023 – which fell on May 14th – was a particularly successful time for the retailer. Analysis of daily change in baseline visits since January 1st, 2023 revealed that Bath & Body Works received a large visit boost on May 13th, 2023 – the day before Mother’s Day. Bath & Body Works’ recent expansion of its product assortment for men ahead of Father’s Day, suggests that the holiday could have a similar capacity to drive visits.
The success of Bath & Body Works’ loyalty program is likely playing a part in the retailer’s ability to boost foot traffic in key retail moments. My Bath & Body Works Rewards – launched in August 2022 – was recently named one of the country's best loyalty programs and had over 37 million members at the end of Q1 2023. Since initiating the program, loyalty sales have accounted for approximately two-thirds of U.S. sales, noted Bath & Body Works CEO Gina Boswell on the company’s recent earnings call. Clearly, the brand’s loyalty members are motivated by the rewards and the convenience of the associated app.
Plenty In the Works
Emerging from the initial challenges posed by the pandemic, Bath & Body Works has found itself in a position to capitalize on thriving demand for self-care and fragrances. Moreover, the retailer's strategic initiatives, including an off-mall brick-and-mortar expansion and a strong focus on building consumer loyalty, have contributed significantly to its success. As Bath & Body Works prepares to launch new products in the haircare and laundry categories, it is evident that the chain will continue to be a popular destination for personal care and home fragrances.
For updates and more data-driven foot traffic insights, visit Placer.ai.