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Shoppers Go Back To Stores, But Retailers Face Challenges – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-05-27 14:31:30 –

(AP Photo / Shafkat Anowar)

New York (AP) — Americans are returning to one of their favorite pastimes, store shopping.

As more and more people were vaccinated and dropped their face masks, retailers from Wal-Mart to Macy’s enthusiastically returned to their stores after more than a year of online customer migration during a pandemic.

Marcia Williams, who lived in the suburbs of Philadelphia and was particular about online shopping only during the heyday of COVID-19, returned to her local shopping mall shortly after being fully vaccinated last month.It was her first time in over a year

Hair makeup artist Williams said, “I’m definitely out.” “I feel more comfortable. I like the experience of trying on clothes. I love grocery shopping. It’s my outlet. “

According to Forrester Research, the return to in-store shopping, highlighted in many recent retailer revenue reports, provides a great deal of peace of mind as shoppers get fewer returns when they make a purchase in the store. 8% compared to 25% online. And store customers are more likely to make impulse purchases. For example, in the case of clothing, 25% of purchases are capricious, compared to 16% online, says market research firm NPD Group Inc.

Marshall Cohen, NPD’s Chief Industry Advisor, said: “They need you to be in the store so that you generate more traffic. Crowds bring more crowds. (Shoppers) Buy more goods.”

Still, retailers, especially mall-based stores and other specialty stores that have been struggling before the pandemic, face many challenges in getting their customers back. They face intensifying competition online and with the prosperous discounters last year. Experts also say that post-pandemic shoppers will be even more demanding. After being forced to stay close to their homes, they are looking for better and more convenient services and experiences.

Many retailers, such as Macy’s, are still recovering from the pandemic and were forced to temporarily close early last year, increasing traffic to large supermarkets that were allowed to continue operating. And while overall store traffic is rebounding, it hasn’t returned to what it was two years ago.

Store-wide customer numbers surged 43.2% year-on-year in the week starting May 10, but fell 5.6% over the same period in 2019, according to foot traffic analytics firm Placer. Mobile device location data states. .ai. In clothing, the number of customers more than doubled in the same time frame, but fell 11.2% in two years. For large stores like Target, customer numbers increased 5.3% over the same period, but fell 4.9% over the two years.

Analysts are closely watching the market share of the tattered department store sector, which has shrunk from 3% in 2019 to 2% last year and has maintained that number for the first four months of the year, according to NPD. By comparison, the market share of discounters was stable at 21% from 2019 to last year, but rose to 22% earlier this year. Overall, the online retail market share rose from 23% in 2019 to 26% last year.

The pandemic has pushed the pace of online spending about two years ahead of schedule. According to Forrester, online shopping is expected to account for 21% of total sales, or $ 794 billion, year-on-year in 2020, and should increase to 27%, or $ 1.1 trillion, by 2023. However, online sales growth is slowing, projected to rise from 29.5% last year to 15.6% this year and 10% next year.

Williams, who had a make-up line called Embellish Beauty and turned his consulting business online during a pandemic, said that about 15% of all purchases were made online, such as soap and other necessities.

Still, physical shopping is not the same as before COVID-19. For example, retailer cosmetology counters have not yet allowed shoppers to try makeup.Target said it will start offering this service in stores again this year

Williams says he’s used to being served champagne when shopping at Tiffany. But when she was in a luxury jeweler earlier this month, there was no champagne due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“These are the experiences I missed,” she said.

Still, store executives feel optimistic — for now.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, said last week that store transactions increased for the first time in a year. Target increased sales by 18% for stores that opened in at least a year in the three months to May 1. This follows a 6.9% increase in the previous quarter.

That trend continued this week.

Best Buy previously predicted that same-store sales could fall this year, but revised its forecast on Thursday to see sales, a key indicator of retailer health, in 2021. He said it was likely to rise by 6% from%.

CEO Collie Barry said in a conference call with industry analysts that retailers are seeing shoppers come back “at all ages.”

Many retail executives say they are adding fresh new products to welcome shoppers. Target plans to open Alta Beauty Shops in more than 100 Target Stores by mid-2021. Kohl’s is preparing to open 200 Sephora Beauty Shops this fall. And Macy’s is committed to areas such as toys, health and wellness, pet care, food and wine.

“Obviously, our customers are ready to live their lives,” Macy’s CEO Jeff Jennet told analysts last week. “I don’t consider this a short-term pop.”

ANNE D’INNOCENZIO AP Retail Lighter



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