Retailer performance, store productivity and consumer spending

Apple, Murphy USA, Tiffany & Co. Top New eMarketer Store Productivity Rankings

eMarketer launches new retail service covering store productivity, sales performance by channel, real estate, digital presence and other indicators for more than 225 US-based retailers

The top US-based retailers with the highest sales per square foot, a defining metric of brick-and-mortar store productivity, are Apple, Murphy USA and Tiffany & Co., according to data from eMarketer Retail, a new information platform the research firm launched this week.

Apple leads the marketplace by a wide margin, averaging $4,551 in sales per square foot of retail space over the most recent trailing-12-month period, according to data compiled by eMarketer Retail.

Apple has enjoyed widespread success in recent years selling products far beyond desktop and laptop computers, often at a higher price point than competitors, and its minimalist spaces dominated by shiny, well-designed gadgets are bringing in the bucks.

No. 2-ranked Murphy USA points up the success of the service station-attached convenience stores, which are physically small and rely largely on tobacco sales for higher revenues. Luxury retailer Tiffany’s comes in a distant third, with the remainder of the top 15 all banking less than $2,000 in sales per square foot over the past year. Slots four through 15 include a variety of retail sectors, from apparel and accessories and luxury goods, to jewelry and luggage.

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Most of the companies that grace the top 15 in sales per square foot are well-established retailers, evidenced by the fact that only four of those retailers are also in the top 15 in terms of year-over-year growth in sales per square foot—Michael Kors Holdings, Kate Spade & Co., Vince and Movado, all luxury retailers.

Restoration Hardware (RH) is seeing the highest growth in store productivity year over year, a result of the company’s recently rolled out “design galleries”—larger-format stores that range from 25,000 to 60,000 square feet, which are staged like luxury residences and come with amenities like restaurants and rooftop gardens.

The retailers that are leading the market in sales per square foot growth over the past year are more diverse, ranging from larger-format stores like RH, Sprouts Farmers Market and The TJX Companies’ HomeGoods, to athletic apparel retailers like SKECHERS and Under Armour.

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Vince, Michael Kors and Kate Spade are also among those retailers seeing sales per square foot grow quickly—despite also increasing their total retail space 46.6%, 34.1% and 46.9% year over year, respectively. Unlike the top 15 retailers in terms of store productivity, the list of retailers leading in square footage growth is more predictable, with small stores dominating the list, likely to be growing their footprint from a smaller base. Deckers Outdoor, which currently has 117 stores that average 2,700 square feet per unit, increased its retail space nearly 50% year over year in 2014 to lead the market.

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The rankings are part of a new information platform launched this week, eMarketer Retail, which covers store productivity, sales performance by channel, real estate, digital presence and other indicators for more than 225 US-based retailers.

To develop its store productivity rankings, eMarketer analyzed quantitative and qualitative data from public filings, company reports, equity analysts and banks, research firms, government agencies and media outlets, weighting each piece of information based on methodology and soundness.

All eMarketer estimates are based on a multipronged analysis of macro-level trends, along with company- and sector-specific trends, and trends in specific consumer behaviors. In addition, every element of each eMarketer forecast fits within the larger matrix of all our forecasts, with the same assumptions and general framework used to project figures in a wide variety of areas. Regular re-evaluation of each forecast means those assumptions and framework are constantly updated to reflect new market developments and other trends.

Average sales per square foot is calculated as annual retail store sales per weighted average amount of square feet during the period. All references to square feet refer to “gross” or total leasable square feet, which includes store sales floor, stock room, office space, and so forth. All references to stores only include company-owned and -operated stores and exclude franchised, licensed, wholesale shop-in-shops, and so forth. All figures are based on retailers’ respective fiscal years. TTM may refer to either the last reported trailing 12 months or the last reported four quarters.

eMarketer compiles data on 225+ retail companies for a range of metrics, including sales, store productivity, earnings, ad spending and employment. The data comes from SEC filings and earnings reports. All figures are net.

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