May 19, 2020 - Economy & Business

Coronavirus retail apocalypse could be a win for chains that survive

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

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President Trump's exuberance around today's scheduled SpaceX launch — including his decision to travel to Florida to watch — goes beyond a personal fascination with astronauts, rockets, and how to make money and wield power in the next frontier.

The bottom line: There's a presidential election in November, and the U.S. space program enjoys wide support across party lines. It's good politics for Trump, at least for now.

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 5,595,091 — Total deaths: 350,752 — Total recoveries — 2,300,985Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 5 a.m. ET: 1,681,418 — Total deaths: 98,929 — Total recoveries: 384,902 — Total tested: 14,907,041Map.
  3. Federal response: DOJ investigates meatpacking industry over soaring beef pricesMike Pence's press secretary returns to work.
  4. Congress: House Republicans to sue Nancy Pelosi in effort to block proxy voting.
  5. Tech: Twitter fact-checks Trump's tweets about mail-in voting for first timeGoogle to open offices July 6 for 10% of workers.
  6. Public health: Coronavirus antibodies could give "short-term immunity," CDC says, but more data is neededCDC releases guidance on when you can be around others after contracting the virus.
  7. What should I do? When you can be around others after contracting the coronavirus — Traveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 32 mins ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

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