Who Were the Turkey Wednesday Winners?

New Placer.ai report reveals which retailers gobbled up sales
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
a woman smiling for the camera
Who Were the Turkey Wednesday Winners?
A new report shows more people shopped in physical stores the day before Thanksgiving this year.

There was a lot of speculation about how consumers might shop for Thanksgiving this year, given what’s been going on with inflation, supply chains and the ever-in-flux COVID-19 situation. New insights shed light on some of those actual behaviors, at least on the day before the holiday.

A fresh report from Placer.ai shows that foot traffic at several food and consumable retail chains on "Turkey Wednesday" was up considerably from last year. The Los Altos, Calif.-based foot traffic analysis firm found that all seven chains scrutinized in the grocery sector — Albertsons, Publix, Kroger, Meijer, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods Market and H-E-B — experienced year-over-year increases in visits, and all but Whole Foods logged an uptick over Turkey Wednesday in 2019. The grocers with the biggest gains for 2021 compared to 2020 were Trader Joe’s, with 25.5% more visits than last year, and Whole Foods, with a 20.8% jump,

Placer.ai also tracked traffic at club stores. The firm revealed that visits to Costco rose 25.5% on a year-over-year basis, while BJ’s had a 23.1% increase and Sam’s Club experienced a 30.2% bump. That said, the numbers for club stores were higher in the pre-pandemic year of 2019.

What happened with big box retailers who were eager to offer Black Friday deals before Thanksgiving? Target’s brick-and-mortar visits on the day before Thanksgiving were 22.1% higher than in 2020 and 14% more than in 2019, and Walmart’s traffic was up 23.2% over 2020 and 3.1% over 2019.

According to a Placer.ai expert, everyone got a piece of the Thanksgiving pie this year, despite various marketplace uncertainties. “In a year where visits have been up for grocery across the board, there was a real question of whether Turkey Wednesday would drive its traditional surge. At the same time, the pent-up demand for a holiday filled with family and, perhaps more importantly, food held out the potential to drive traffic that would surpass even the heights set this year. And the latter proved to be true,” Ethan Chernofsky, VP of marketing at Placer.ai, summed up in a blog post.

Boise, Idaho-based Albertsons is No. 8 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix, Cincinnati-based Kroger, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Meijer, Monrovia, Calif.-based Trader Joe’s, Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods, San Antonio-based H-E-B, Issaquah, Wash.-based Costco, Westborough, Mass.-based BJ's Wholesale Club and Minneapolis-based Target Corp. are Nos. 11, 3, 18, 28, 26, 13, 4, 27 and 6, respectively. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, while Walmart-owned Sam’s Club ranks No. 9 on the list.

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