Wal-Mart sales per square foot is twice the national average, but well below Apple

by Kim Souza (ksouza@talkbusiness.net) 334 views 

As more retail sales gravitate online the sales per square foot metric at all but a few public retailers continues to decline according to a new report by CoStar.

CoStar said the average sales per square foot in the early 2000s was about $375 and has fallen to $325 in recent years. Sales per square foot is deemed an important metric for determining retail success.

“There’s little doubt that the online giant Amazon has been disrupting traditional retailers, however, several companies have managed to grow sales despite the declining trend in brick-and-mortar,” the release stated.

CoStar found Apple was the leader in their 2017 report with sales per square feet at $5,546. The tech retailer operates 270 stores in the U.S. and nearly 500 stores across 19 countries.

Also garnering a top spot in the CoStar report was Arkansas-based Murphy USA. In the convenience store space Murphy USA, a gasoline retailer, posted sales per square foot of $3,721 as of Jan. 3 making it the most profitable in this category using this metric. El Dorado-based Murphy USA operates roughly 1,400 retail convenience stores in the U.S., primarily in the southern and midwestern areas of the country.

In recent years Murphy lost some of its business with Wal-Mart Stores who began open its own fueling stations and convenience stores. Murphy USA still operates some of the fueling stations and convenience stores located on older Wal-Mart sites.

The CoStar release did not include data for Wal-Mart. Talk Business & Politics made calculations based on information found in the company’s annual filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. While Wal-Mart is woefully behind Apple’s stunning $5,526 figure this past year, the retail giant’s sales per square foot of $688.27 was considerably better than the industry average at $325.

Over the past three years as Wal-Mart opened more than 590 new Neighborhood Market stores and 244 supercenters in its U.S. business and the sales per square foot number declined from $717.61 per square foot in fiscal 2014. Between fiscal 2015 and 2016 Wal-Mart’s sales per square foot rose from $709 to $726 as the retailer closed 158 of its U.S. stores.

CoStar said other retailers like Tiffany & Co., and lululemon Athletic were also bucking the downward trend. In the jewelry category, Tiffany & Co., has the highest sales per square foot at $2,951. The high-end jeweler operates around 125 stores in North, Central and South Americas as well as 188 stores abroad.

Specialty apparel retailer lululemon Athletica had sales of $1,560 per square foot. This company designs, distributes and sells apparel primarily marketed toward women. As of Jan. 29, it operated 406 company-operated stores under the lululemon and ivivva brands in the United States, Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Germany, Puerto Rico, and Switzerland.

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