Digital Or Physical Stores? - The Answer Is Both, Says This Analyst Looking On Retail Real Estate Trends

  • Telsey Advisory Group analyst Dana Telsey said physical stores remain the greatest source of new customer acquisition for most consumer companies.
  • And, the pandemic removed the pre-pandemic conversation of “either or” between digital and physical channels, noted the analyst.
  • Today, post-pandemic, with the lack of new shopping center development, brands and retailers are paying up for A and B centers and embracing the physical footprint in all aspects, said the analyst.
  • Whether it be store openings, with adjustments being made to size and location, or remodels, with improved adjacencies and a better experience for the customer and the staff, the companies are doing all.
  • Store also are increasingly being used for fulfillment of digital orders, with companies working to drive attachment sales, opined the analyst. 
  • Academy Sports And Outdoors, Inc.ASO saw that in 2022, approximately half of its e-commerce sales bought online, picked up in store, and over 75% of all e-commerce sales were fulfilled through its stores, said the analyst.
  • Carter’s Inc CRI mentioned that in 2022, 35% of its online transactions were supported by stores, up from 28% last year.
  • Home Depot Inc HD stores fulfilled approximately 45% of the company’s online orders in the fourth quarter.
  • Duluth Holdings Inc DLTH are fulfilling a large portion of direct orders; during the fourth quarter, the stores fulfilled close to 20% of direct sales demand.
  • Target Corporation TGT stores fulfill over 96% of all purchases (combined in-store and online), and its new large format store in Katy, Texas, has a digital fulfillment area that is 5 times larger than the average store.
  • Walmart Inc WMT commented that over the last two years, store fulfilled delivery sales have nearly tripled, reaching over $1 billion each month
  • The analyst said companies like Abercrombie & Fitch Company ANFMacy’s Inc M, and Best Buy Co Inc BBY are opening smaller stores.
  • Companies are also testing on new store designs and exploring store of the future concept to drive traffic and sales, opined the analyst.
  • The analyst also added that the companies see rural and smaller markets as an enormous expansion opportunities.
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