- Foot traffic analytics firm Placer.ai sees Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, CVS and Ulta as among the likely retail winners in 2020.
- In a blog post, Ethan Chernofsky, vice president of marketing at Placer.ai, called out Ulta's 9% year-over-year increase in traffic on Black Friday 2019, which represented a 300% spike over the beauty retailer's baseline traffic, as well as strong traffic at CVS' new HealthHub test stores.
- Chernofsky also pointed to year-over-year growth in traffic at Target from April through August, with "huge" traffic spikes in the summer. As for Bed Bath & Beyond, he called the prediction "bold" given the retailer's recent struggles but noted that a large share of its audience makes income over $100,000 a year.
The past year deepened a chasm in retail between winners and losers. Moody's analysts in the spring described a kind of "survival of the fittest" in the industry. Strong players have invested in their business and prices, gaining share and making life tougher for the weaker, financially troubled companies.
Target is without a doubt among the strongest in the field. Like Walmart, the mass merchant ran into sales declines in the previous decade that spooked investors and created a crisis-or-opportunity moment. Also like Walmart, Target made major investments to turn itself around — in its stores, private labels, logistics and technological capabilities.
Along with Walmart and Costco, Target posted consistently strong sales and profit figures through 2019. That it is gaining market share, including a 10% gain in the struggling apparel category, bodes well for Target going into 2020.
Meanwhile, Ulta has posted double digit sales growth even as the beauty market weakens, and CVS has seen strong revenue growth while rivals like Walgreens and Rite Aid struggle. In fact, CVS' scale and integration adds to the challenges of its smaller rivals. The past year saw the failure of two smaller, more regional pharmacy chains, namely Shopko and Fred's, which both liquidated in 2019.
Unlike the others, Bed Bath & Beyond's sales have fallen this year as it tries to find its footing in a shifting retail environment, and its foot traffic has dipped over the past two years, according to Placer.ai data provided to Retail Dive last year. On the bright side, it has a new CEO, Target's former chief merchant, who is already at work rebooting his executive team and raising cash to fund its transformation efforts and reduce debt.