Big-box stores are emptying out now that shoppers have built up their coronavirus stockpiles, new data show.
Foot traffic at Target, Costco and Walmart has dropped after several weeks of huge increases amid pandemic-fueled panic shopping, according to figures from the analytics platform Placer.ai.
“Once you have all the things you need, there is little need for more visits,” Ethan Chernofsky, Placer.ai’s vice president of marketing, wrote in a Tuesday blog post. “While some expected that the thrill of being able to get out could overcome a lowering demand for actual items, this may not be the case after all.”
Target’s foot traffic plunged 20.5 percent year-over-year in the third week of March and Walmart’s sank 6.7 percent after three consecutive weeks of gains starting in late February, Placer.ai says.
Costco saw an 8.7 percent drop that week after a 34.7 percent spike in the second week of March as shoppers apparently stocked up and prepared to hunker down at home to stem the spread of the deadly virus, the data shows. Sam’s Club foot traffic still rose 21.4 percent in the third week of the month, but that was down from a 66.9 percent increase year-over-year in the prior week.
Placer.ai attributed the dropoff in part to strict coronavirus-related regulations implemented in swaths of the US. Stores in states the virus has hit hard also fared worse than those in places where the impact has been lighter, the company found.
Costco stores in New York — the epicenter of the pandemic in the US with more than 76,000 coronavirus cases — saw foot traffic decrease 9.7 percent in the third week of March, according to the data. But stores in Florida, which has about 6,700 cases, saw a drop of only 6.6 percent. Costco’s Arizona and Texas stores managed year-over-year increases that week, according to Placer.ai.
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