Image from: Breaking Copy
Despite cutting prices this spring to counteract the decline in first quarter profits, Kohl’s online traffic may suggest another lull in profits this quarter. The announcement a couple weeks ago about JC Penney President, Michael Francis, suddenly leaving the retailer may also be a sign of a poor quarter for JC Penney. All this buzz piqued my interest, and I decided to look at Compete.com to see if we have seen any changes in shopping activity since last year.
Looking at Unique Visitors on Compete.com, we can see that following the high shopping months surrounding the holidays, Kohls.com traffic dropped significantly. Last year we noticed a similar drop but even with the decline in visitors to kohls.com in 2012, traffic is still up compared to the beginning of 2011.
Looking at year over year traffic for January through May, Kohls.com has grown 12% slightly behind Macys.com and the entire mass merchant category. JCPenney.com has grown only 5%.
Looking further at how other competitors in the mass merchant space are responding to the seasonal trend, we can see whose traffic has dropped the least since the holiday season.
All players are down as expected following the holiday season, but key competitive retailers and the mass merchant category overall has declined more since Q4 2011 than traffic did following Q4 2010 with Kohl’s dropping the most thus far this year.
With mass merchant site traffic down collectively, what does this mean looking ahead for JCPenney and Kohl’s? The large traffic drop for both retailers since Q4 might be a leading indicator of another quarter of lower profits in Q2.