Factbox: Sizing up retailers' performance as online sales surge

NEW YORK (Reuters) - As online shopping upends the retail business, many Wall Street analysts say traditional measures such as counting the number of people who visit stores on major shopping days are no longer a reliable gauge of a company’s performance.

FILE PHOTO: Holiday shoppers look for deals at the Pentagon City Mall in Arlington, Virginia, U.S., November 29, 2019. REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Below are some of the newer methods that retail analysts are employing on the job, as well as some traditional ones.


** Subscribing to retailers’ emails to closely monitor promotions, flash sales and doorbuster deals

** Counting the number of Instagram-led fashion brands in retailers’ stores and online

** Examining e-receipt data provided by consumers, recording when a customer was at a store and what they bought.

** Forming partnerships with third-party data analytics firms measuring things such as website visits and social media sentiment for a more holistic view

** Counting the number of “off-price” stores in a retailer’s fleet

** Counting the proportion or number of millennials and Gen Z customers shopping at the store


** Same store sales

** Sales per square foot of retail space

** Counting cars at malls and in retailers’ lots

** Foot traffic

** Average selling price, calculated by dividing net sales by the number of products sold

** Average basket size, or the average number of items sold in a single purchase, calculated by dividing total number of units sold by the number of invoices

** Transaction velocity, or the rate at which transactions occur at a store or online

** Conversion, or the proportion of people who visit a store or browse a website and ultimately purchase a product. Field teams typically make estimates by observing traffic in stores.

** Analyzing credit card data, compiled by companies such as MasterCard

Reporting by Melissa Fares in New York and Nandita Bose in Washington; Editing by Kirsten Donovan