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Retail footfall remains sluggish

URL> IRL … at least for traffic growth.

2023, for all of its warts and warrants, has been a period of relative stability and dust settling. No state-mandated closures, nor impossible comps.

However, it has not been without challenges - the sky remains cloudy, consumer confidence remains tempered, and price indices are still uncomfortably high.

Traffic is the tip of the spear in retail - our bellwether. Without footfall or visits, growth aspirations fade. And, the wild swings of the past few years have made forecasting and predictions difficult. Still, we look for signs of life – and traffic is a go-to compass for where we may be going.

Digital eked out a small traffic gain of 4% (US-only), but the comps were in the red across IRL retail formats. Discount and dollar stores predictably bucked the trend (up 2%) though outlet malls fell nearly 5%.

Turns out that consumers are spending – at least their time - on themselves instead of their stuff, as fitness centers attracted a 19% YoY gain.  

Which finally gives me a chance to try this one out:

“What do you ask an ecomm analyst at the gym?”

“How much ya bench, mark?”

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