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A person walks past a closed store in San Francisco. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Retail has been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic as bankruptcies and store closures have accelerated, but that is creating opportunities for the companies that survive, especially as a period of surging traffic could be on the way, data firm Placer.ai says.

What they're saying: The much ballyhooed retail apocalypse is poised to benefit budget retail names like Ross and Kohl's that have gained market share in recent years.

  • With major brands like J.C. Penney potentially closing their doors in the spring and more than 3,000 companies announcing store closures already this year, "the treasure hunt appeal and the value orientation could position these brands to thrive."

By the numbers: Placer.ai data shows that Ross saw a visit increase of 8.8% in January and 12.2% in February prior to visits plummeting as stores shuttered.

  • Kohl's saw a similar trend with visits rising 8.7% and 7.6% year-over-year in January and February before taking their pandemic-driven plunge.

The intrigue: "With potential store closings on the horizon on the back of bankruptcy announcements, much of these visits could be up for grabs."

  • 36.8% of Kohl's shoppers and 30.6% of Ross shoppers visited a J.C. Penney during this period.

The big picture: "The combination of very strong performance heading into the crisis, effective positioning for the coming period of economic uncertainty and a weakened competitive landscape may actually set these brands up to thrive in the coming months and years," per Placer.ai.

Go deeper ... Survival of the biggest: Coronavirus transforms retail

Go deeper

Oct 17, 2020 - Health

N.Y. deploys "micro-cluster strategy" to target coronavirus "block by block"

New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks at a news conference. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Saturday announced the state will deploy a "micro-cluster strategy" to target the coronavirus "block-by-block" instead of at the statewide or regional levels.

Why it matters: Cuomo said that while New York's infection rate has remained relatively low — at an average of 1.1% average as of Saturday — “the fall is a new phase."

Updated Nov 10, 2020 - World

In photos: Coronavirus restrictions grow across Europe

A waiter stands on an empty street in downtown Lisbon on Nov. 9, after Portugal introduced a night-time curfew for 70% of the population, including the capital and also the coastal city of Porto. It'll last for at least two weeks, per the BBC. Photo: Patricia De Melo Moreira/AFP via Getty Images

Portugal and Hungary have become the latest European countries to impose partial lockdowns, with curfews going into effect overnight. Governments across the continent are imposing more restrictions in attempts to curb COVID-19 spikes.

The big picture: Over 9.2 million cases have been reported to the European Centre for Disease Control. Per the ECDC, France has the most (almost 1.8 million) followed by Spain (over 1.3 million) and the United Kingdom (nearly 1.2 million). The COVID death rate per 100,000 of the population is highest in the Czech Republic (25), followed by Belgium (19) and Hungary (10.4).

Updated 23 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.