“Discounters, dollar stores, off-pricers and strong global brands I actually think could emerge stronger from this, take market share, use their size and scale,” Boss said on CNBC’s “Halftime Report.”
On the contrary, Boss said, the coronavirus crisis and its resulting economic shock could represent more bad news for department stores and mall-based specialty stores.
“If we come out of this in more a recessionary backdrop, that’s where we still remain more cautious,” said Boss, who is widely seen as Wall Street’s top retail analyst. “That’s where we’re watching the balance sheet, and we’re really paying attention to competition and how fierce this might look on the other side of it as dollars may be more constrained.”
The spread of the coronavirus across the U.S. has led to the temporary closure of many nonessential businesses. But there is worry the economic impacts may last longer than the pandemic, with some expecting a record number of store closures in 2020.
“I would say the No. 1 theme right now across retail is survival,” Boss said. “I think you’re going to have a clear bifurcation of the structural winners versus the multiyear market share donors coming out of this.”
Boss also singled out Nike and Lululemon as the type of powerhouse brands that will see expanded market share once much of the economy restarts following the COVID-19 crisis. The shift toward e-commerce also may “happen at an accelerating pace,” he said.