By Brandon Thurber, Director of Scan Data Insights and Media Measurement, NRS
Memorial Day, commonly considered the unofficial kick-off to summer, was the first US holiday under “post pandemic” return to normal conditions. Restrictions have been lifted, more than half of the adults are fully vaccinated, increase in family gatherings, and reopening of bars and restaurants all impacted how the country celebrated the holiday including Memorial Day related retail purchases. In addition, AAA estimated that 37 million Americans traveled more than 50 miles over the Memorial Day weekend, a 60% increase from last year. This also impacts purchases for at home consumption.
The National Retail Solutions (NRS) network of small format, independent, stores saw a same store increase of 5% in the 13 weeks leading up to Memorial Day compared to the 13 weeks prior to last year’s holiday.
However, when comparing the holiday week year over year these stores saw overall declines of 1.6%. Categories such as paper products, hot dogs, and beer that are more typically associated with Memorial Day saw sales decline versus year ago. While this likely does not mean that these categories were not purchased, but most likely purchased through other retail channels or consumed on premise.
The story of reopening is not all bad news for store owners. Categories popular with road trips enjoyed the largest increase from last year including salty snacks, candy, and non-alcoholic beverages. However, the carbonated soft drinks segment of non-alcoholic beverages remained flat. Despite being up 4% YTD through the end of May, Beer/FMB/Cider saw a dip for the holiday week compared to last year.
National Retail Solutions (NRS) operates a point-of-sale (POS) terminal-based platform for independent retailers and bodega owners nationwide. In over 11,000 individual outlets, the platform provides a robust portfolio of tools to help these retailers compete more effectively in the marketplace including an integrated rewards program, consumer promotions, and DOOH shopper facing advertising screens. From the scanner data collected across its network, these unique insights were gleaned about the Memorial Day Holiday in the Bodega/inner-city C-Store merchant. For more information, email [email protected]
Brandon Thurber is the Director, Media Measurement and Scan Data Insights for National Retail Solutions.