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FYU: Department Store Domination?

As readers of our monthly Executive Briefing are already aware, 2012 has been a pretty exciting year for Kohl’s when it comes to the Women’s Clothing store shopped most often by the more than 8,000 respondents in our Monthly Consumer Survey. When we last visited this category in November 2011, Kohl’s had – for the first time in the history of our 10 year survey – surpassed Walmart as the top store shopped for this category. While discounter Walmart had the edge in January, April marked the third month in a row that Kohl’s has led this category – and it looks like the department store darling might be widening the gap between itself and the big discounter:

Women's Clothing - Kohl's v. Walmart

So what’s the deal with Walmart? Where is Kohl’s growing? And, are JC Penney or Macy’s posing immediate threats to the top two? For Your Understanding this month, we’re taking the Women’s Clothing catfight to the mats, courtesy of our Retail Ratings Reports*.

In just the first few pages of this handy guide, we can see that:
–  Among the fashion forward set – a faction growing in number – Macy’s is shopped most often (16.6%), followed by Kohl’s (11.2%), and JC Penney (8.2%).
–  Walmart’s core shoppers earn under $50,000 – and the discounter leads with these wage earners. However, among both the lucrative $50,000+ and $75,000+ income groups, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and JC Penney are the top stores shopped for Women’s Clothing, respectively.
–  Kohl’s (11.2%) and Macy’s (10.8%) also lead when it comes to 18-34 year old customers. Walmart’s strength lies with consumers 35-54 and 55+, though the discounter still plays second fiddle to Kohl’s in both cases.
–  Kohl’s and Macy’s are the top Women’s Clothing stores shopped in the Northeast, respectively, while their roles are reversed out West. Kohl’s (#1) and Walmart (#2) control the Midwest, and down South, Walmart maintains its stronghold (followed by Kohl’s).
–  While Kohl’s has recently overtaken Walmart for the top spot in Women’s Clothing overall, it appears that Macy’s may enter the mix as 2012 gets underway. From January to April 2012, share of Adults 18+ shopping the department store standard have increase 60%+ to a current 10.0%.
–  Finally, don’t discount JC Penney. Thanks to the retailer’s promotion-less new Fair & Square strategy, shopper interest has perked up in 2012 – in the short term, at least.

Women's Clothing - Store Shopped Most Often (Top 5)

But let’s look a bit deeper at the growing divide between Walmart and Kohl’s with the Consumer Equity Index™ (CEI). The CEI – available exclusively within the Retail Ratings Reports – is a year-over-year index showing growth or decline of Consumer Preference Share (the % we collect each month for the store shopped most often). Here’s a key:

CEI = 100 (flat)
CEI = 105 (5% growth)
CEI = 95 (5% decline)

Our latest CEI ratings for Women’s Clothing shows that Kohl’s – and Macy’s – are growing in customer share, while Walmart is flatlining at best. In the all-important female shopper segment, Kohl’s share has risen 14%, Macy’s has boosted a whopping 43%, while Walmart (and JC Penney) have dropped 5%.

Women's Clothing - Consumer Equity Index (Female Shoppers)

And, recall that sweet spot of core customers for Walmart? If you were to analyze the CEI ratings for those earning under $50,000/year, you would find that both Kohl’s and Macy’s are growing in similar fashion as with the female population, while Walmart has seen a flat/meager 2% pick-me-up with this group. #departmentstoredomination?

Now you understand: It doesn’t appear that Kohl’s and Macy’s are directly poaching Walmart shoppers – they are growing their own customer bases (especially females and <$50,000 wage earners), while the big W’s share remains stagnant. Department stores are buzzing with consumers for 2012, and we did witness their increasing popularity for Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day. With this topic trending with shoppers, we could see some additional change-ups in the Women’s Clothing sector as 2012 progresses.

Bottom Line: Perhaps Walmart just isn’t keeping up with The Changing American Consumer.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, APR-11 – APR-12

* Retail Ratings Reports are available monthly for the following categories: Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Children’s Clothing, Shoes, Linens/Bedding/Draperies, Electronics, Hardware, Children’s Toys, Sporting Goods, Groceries, Health & Beauty Care, Prescription Drugs.

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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FYU: Shoes

As reported in our latest Executive Briefing, Payless has once again surpassed Walmart for the top spot in Shoes. If you are a follower of our monthly insights on this topic, you would know that while this is a rare occurrence (Payless was last #1 in NOV-09), these two footwear retailers have been tangling for the top prize for quite some time:

Shoes - Store Shopped Most Often

Is there a reason behind Payless’ failed commitment to the lead in Shoes? Why isn’t Walmart hot-to-trot in this category, as it is with Men’s and Children’s Apparel, Groceries, and Health & Beauty Care? And doesn’t that two month upswing for Kohl’s, DSW, JC Penney look interesting in the chart above? For Your Understanding this month, we’ll hoof it through these questions, courtesy of our Retail Ratings Reports*.

In just the first few pages of this handy guide, we can see that:

–  Women have a preference for Payless, while Men typically head to Walmart most often. But speaking from a strictly biased point of view (#iloveshoes), we females are the Shoe connoisseurs and not-so-much for the fellas, right?
–  The sweet spot group of customers for both Walmart and Payless earn under $50,000 per year – so these retailers are competing for a lot of the same attention.
–  Interestingly, Kohl’s is tops among consumers in the lucrative $50,000+ and $75,000+ income brackets (though Payless is a close #2 with $50,000+ wage earners.)
–  Payless is the victor among the young crowd (18-34 year olds) and lands about a point ahead of #2 Walmart with shoppers 35 to 54 years old. Walmart is the favorite among those 55+.
–  Among the fashion forward set (a growing group of shoppers, according to our latest findings), Payless is most popular, followed by DSW, Foot Locker (OK, maybe a few men do enjoy shopping for Shoes), Macy’s, and finally Walmart. The competition is closer between Walmart and Payless among those who prefer value and comfort as well as shoppers sporting traditional styling.
–  Payless is tops in the Northeast and out West, while Walmart holds the Southern stronghold. Walmart leads by just a point over Payless and Kohl’s in the Midwest.

But let’s look a bit deeper with the Consumer Equity Index™ (CEI). The CEI – available exclusively within the Retail Ratings Reports – is a year-over-year index showing growth or decline of Consumer Preference Share (the % we collect each month for the store shopped most often). Here’s a key:

CEI = 100 (flat)
CEI = 105 (5% growth)
CEI = 95 (5% decline)

Our latest CEI ratings for Shoes show that Walmart is slipping in a segment in which Payless shines (along with Kohl’s and DSW and Macy’s and JC Penney):  the all-important and all-knowing female segment. Here, Payless has experienced near 12% growth while Walmart is suffering from a near 20% decline.Consumer Equity Index for Shoes - Women

BTW, your eyes aren’t deceiving you: female consumer preference share for DSW has increased 30%+ over March 2011. Macy’s and Kohl’s are also excelling among Women with nearly 20% growth apiece. Rising share for JC Penney is more in line with Payless at about 12%. #fiercecompetition

And, recall that sweet spot of core customers for both Walmart and Payless? If you were to analyze the CEI ratings for those earning under $50,000/year, you would find that Payless’ share is gaining, while Walmart’s is waning.

Now you understand: Payless is gaining ground over Walmart with two key demographics for both of these discount-oriented retailers: 1.) Women and 2.) Under $50,000 wage earners. Growing competition from the likes of Kohl’s, DSW, and JC Penney may be preventing Payless from gaining surer footing as the lead in this category.

Bottom Line: I clearly need more shoes Stay tuned for further developments in this hot category.

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, MAR-11 – MAR-12

* Retail Ratings Reports are available monthly for the following categories: Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Children’s Clothing, Shoes, Linens/Bedding/Draperies, Electronics, Hardware, Children’s Toys, Sporting Goods, Groceries, Health & Beauty Care, Prescription Drugs.

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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