Placer: Walmart’s Traffic Recovery Proving Complicated

When it comes to store visitors, Walmart’s recovery from coronavirus-related lows is proceeding more slowly than Target’s and is entangled with home center and dollar store retailers, according to Placer.ai.

The foot traffic tracker stated that Target and Walmart are sustaining relatively similar numbers since mid-June but that the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in key states such as California has limited the ability of the two retailers to enjoy a full bounceback. Target’s store traffic drop was steeper mid-pandemic, Placer maintained, but its rise toward normalcy has been proceeding faster. Placer credits that quicker turnaround at least in part to shopper finances. In income terms, 29.5% of Target shoppers earn between $75,000 and $150,000 annually versus 20.3% of Walmart shoppers.

As stores began to reopen in 2020, Dollar General’s store shopper crossover rate with Walmart grew 19.4% to 24.2% year over year in the period from May to July. Meanwhile, Home Depot’s grew from 30.5% in 2019 to 34.1% in 2020 and Lowe’s cross-shopping advanced from 25.3% in 2019 to 37.8% in 2020.

Walmart remains retail king, Placer noted, but the pandemic has given rise to more home improvement shopping and growing dollar store visits. As for Target, audience focus could ease the path forward at least as regards store visits, although a more robust curbside pickup program and e-commerce operation remain competitive advantages for Walmart.