The Biggest Retailers Are Too Scared to Disclose this Data. But Nordstrom Just Did

Saturday, March 2, 2019
By Paul Martin

by Wolf Richter
Mar 1, 2019

How its own online sales, now one-third of its total sales, eat its brick & mortar. But it’s a matter of survival.

The largest brick-and-mortar retailers in the US don’t disclose what portion of their revenues derive from e-commerce and from their brick-and-mortar stores. They don’t because it would show just to what extent their brick-and-mortar stores are losing revenues even as their own e-commerce revenues are surging with big double-digit gains.

The top brick-and-mortar retailers have huge online operations: Walmart, Home Depot, BestBuy, and Macy’s in that order are the fourth through seventh largest e-commerce sites in the US, behind only Amazon, eBay, and Apple.

So they only disclose – or brag about – the massive percent increases in e-commerce revenues. But they do not disclose data that would allow us to calculate their e-commerce revenues in dollars, the dollar-increase in e-commerce revenues, the surging share of e-commerce in their total revenues, and the likely declining share of their brick-and-mortar revenues.

They even include e-commerce sales in “comparable sales” – sometimes falsely called same-store sales by the media. So when these “comparable sales” increase by 2%, it could be because e-commerce sales are booming even as brick-and-mortar sales are falling.

Nordstrom is the exception. It started disclosing details on its online sales last year (kudos!). And it’s an eye-opener for what is happening to brick-and-mortar sales – not only at its stores but in the industry.

One-third of Nordstrom revenues are already e-commerce.
In its earnings report yesterday for Q4 and its fiscal year 2018 (ended on February 2, 2019), Nordstrom threw us some red meat about its “digital sales,” as it calls them, allowing us to calculate its brick-and-mortar sales (the numbers below exclude “credit card revenues,” such as interest paid by its card holders; roughly stable at around $100 million a quarter):

Q4 of fiscal 2018: digital sales = 33% of total sales of $4.38 billion = $1.45 billion; brick-and-mortar sales = $2.937 billion

Q4 of fiscal 2017: digital sales = 30% of total sales of $4.60 billion = $1.38 billion; brick-and-mortar sales = $3.22 billion

The Rest…HERE

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