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This was the worst holiday for Macy's foot traffic since at least 2016

3 weeks ago by Joshua Fruhlinger in Retail

Macy's ($NYSE:M), considered by many to be ground-zero for holiday shopping, host of the Thanksgiving day parade, home base for Santa Claus, appears to be running out of time, at least as a brick-and-mortar destination.

Foot traffic trends, as measured via social media geolocation data via Facebook's "Were Here" count, declined once again for the 2019 holiday season.

For the 2019 holiday, Were Here count for Macy's jumped by 72,400 Facebook selfies and status updates. While that may sound like a healthy number on the surface, it compares poorly to 2018's gain of 135,000. And in 2017, Macy's picked up 272,000 Were Heres during the same period (November 1-January 1).

Department stores have had a rough go of what many now call the "Retail Apocalypse". Virtually all closed stores in 2019, and some — like Barney's — called it quits entirely. And while Macy's foot traffic outpaces that of other department stores, this downward trend in holiday pickup will not be a good thing for the business when it reports holiday sales in its next earnings report.

Macy's is expected to report earnings on February 20, 2020, before the market opens. Early expectations are not good: Zacks is forecasting an EPS of $1.93, down from $2.73 for the same quarter last year, which mirrors what we're seeing in foot traffic trends.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Joshua Fruhlinger

Joshua has been writing about technology, lifestyle, and business for over 20 years. He's one of the original writers and editors for Engadget, and still writes a...

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