Lululemon's sales dropped 17% this quarter compared to the year before. Still, it was able to focus on its digital programs after retail stores had to abruptly close. While the results weren't pristine, the athleisure brand did illustrate why investing in digital fulfillment and engagement helped offset some of the headwinds felt by the global pandemic.
Dick's Sporting Goods has benefitted some from its product being in high demand. But the company also benefitted from investments it has previously made in its e-commerce business. Case in point, the company said during its first quarter earnings that online sales were up 110% during the quarter, thanks in large part to the rollout of a curbside pickup service in response to store closures.
Kroger has been investing in its digital infrastructure since 2017. This all helped it grow profits during the first quarter of 2020. The grocer saw huge revenue growth too. While other retailers have seen big profit hits a result of putting their businesses online, Kroger was able to grow profit despite the digital shift.
Williams-Sonoma recorded e-commerce comps exceeding 31%. While the numbers are big, they're not terribly surprising. The home goods company has invested in digital programs for years -- beginning as far back as 1998. Now, those bets are paying off. What's more, Williams-Sonoma invested more in new digital tools when the coronavirus first hit. Compared to other big retailers, these results show when digital investment really pays off.
Home Depot saw a huge revenue spike this past quarter -- as well as many more customers utilize its digital offerings. This is a long time company for the home improvement retailer. It has spent many years bolstering its digital infrastructure but hadn't yet seen the fruits of those labors. We now see why the investment paid off.
Walmart has proven to be one of the retail winners over the last couple of months, as both its stores and its website drew strong sales. During its first quarter earnings on Tuesday, Walmart reported that total revenue was $10.7 billion, up 8.6% year-over-year. The past couple of months have shown just how far Walmart has come in building an e-commerce behemoth.
Amazon's sales went up during the first quarter of this year, but so too did costs. This certainly has to do with the coronavirus -- as do the plans to re-invest all of its profits into the business. The company's latest earnings report shows that even the industry leaders have some cracks in the business.
On big-box retailer Lowe's fourth quarter earnings call today, CEO Marvin Ellison acknowledged that the company's website is "still under construction." That statement isn't often uttered by retail executives in 2020. But Lowe's is still in the process of upgrading a website that was built on a decade-old tech stack.
During its fourth quarter earnings report on Tuesday, Walmart once again reported strong growth in its online grocery business, which has become the crux of its e-commerce strategy in recent years. But the company was also hurt by weak sales in toys, apparel and gaming.
J.Crew just announced that it's received investor approval to part ways with Madewell. This is certainly a way for the retailer to pay down its massive debt load, but it won't solve the bigger problems facing the aging brand.
Target reported better-than-expected earnings results, and its stock has been soaring. Much of its recent success was thanks to its growing private label program, which gave the retailer better margins. The question remains whether the company can sustain this momentum as it scales more lines.
In 2017, Home Depot unveiled "One Home Depot," which called for the company to invest $5.4 billion over the next three years to improve e-commerce capabilities, add more fulfillment capabilities like buy online, pickup in-store, and to redesign the website for its business-to-business customers, which the company refers to as "Pros." In return, Home Depot expected sales to hit $120 billion by 2020. But, Home Depot is finding that it's taking longer than expected to roll out some of its new capabilities.
Target's strategy of using its stores to fulfill orders placed online continue to drive an increase in both digital sales and foot traffic. Now, as Target has remodeled the majority of its stores to ensure they can effectively serve as fulfillment centers, its eyeing additional investments in automation and employee training to ensure it can keep up with digital sales growth.
Walmart's earnings report showed a legacy retailer growing, despite digital competitors like Amazon looming. Though Walmart has had trouble executing its overall e-commerce program, these results show that the retailer may have a few competitive advantages.
As Macy's struggles to par down its inventory, it is turning to steep discounts in order to make way for new seasonal product. The company has said that it believes investing more in data analytics and overhauling its markdown strategy will help it avoid fewer discounts going forward, but analysts believe that its inventory is the bigger issue.
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