“Non-essential” retailers continue to face an uphill battle

“Non-essential” retailers continue to face an uphill battle

US retailer Kohl’s recently posted their second-quarter report, which showed quarterly loss and declining sales for the brand.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise, considering the “non-essential” retailer had to close stores during the initial onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the company paid the price — Kohl's Corp. shares dropped 14% (Yahoo Finance). 

Unlike “essential” retail brands like Home Depot or Walmart who continued operation during the pandemic with only minimal impact, many large “non-essential” retailers like Kohl’s — who traditionally rely on the bulk of their sales coming from their brick-and-mortar locations — lost in-store shoppers throughout the quarter. Once stores were allowed to re-open, many shoppers still avoided non-essential retail locations like Kohl’s to minimize risk of potential coronavirus exposure, and instead, turned to e-commerce and online shopping.

Data confirms the Q2 boost in e-commerce throughout North America. From mid-March through the end of July, we see a huge spike in e-commerce orders, though that number is just now slowly receding to pre-pandemic levels.

Although e-commerce orders are declining as more and more stores across the region re-open, expect the trend to reverse as we approach the holidays (and especially if a second wave of COVID-19 hits).

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