clothing store workers with mask

Keeping the doors open counts — even in a digital age. 

So when COVID-19 forced so many stores to close or limp along, it was the brick-and-mortar giants Walmart Inc. and Target Corp. that fared best as they kept operating and offered shoppers a wide variety of social-distanced necessities.

The final tally of 2020 financial results showed just how far the two mass retailers pulled ahead, posting big profits while nearly every other retailer logged significant losses. 

But even as the multiline giants consolidated their power — and are now spending heavily to push further ahead — the rest of fashion retail is charging hard, seeing the period of forced evolution as a time to grow stronger (or to try to). The year-end financial stats show just how much more work they have to do.

Here, a look at how 10 major U.S. fashion retailers fared last year, ranked by bottom line results.

Walmart Inc.

Net profit: $13.5 billion, down 9.2 percent

Revenue: $559.2 billion, up 6.7 percent

Fiscal year ended: Jan. 31

Gaining ground: “This is a time to be even more aggressive because of the opportunity we see in front of us. The strategy, team and capabilities are in place. We have momentum with customers and our financial position is strong.” — Doug McMillon, chief executive officer

Full story: Walmart Notches More Highs During the Pandemic

Target store

Target  Scott Gilbertson

Target Corp.

Net profit: $4.4 billion, up 33.1 percent

Revenue: $93.6 billion, up 19.8 percent

Fiscal year ended: Jan 30

Building stronger: “With the strength of our unique, multicategory assortment and the flexibility we offer through our reliable and convenient fulfillment options, we gained nearly $9 billion in market share in 2020 and grew our revenue by $15 billion, which is more than the 11 prior years combined. As we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, we see continued opportunity to invest in our business and our team, building on the strong foundation we’ve established to drive market share gains and deliver profitable growth for years to come.” — Brian Cornell, chairman and CEO

Full story: Target to Invest $4 Billion Annually to Grow Its Ecosystem

 

Urban Outfitters

An Urban Outfitters store in New York City.  STRF/STAR MAX/IPx

Urban Outfitters Inc.

Net profit: $1.2 million, down 99.3 percent

Revenue: $3.4 billion, down 13.4 percent

Fiscal year ended: Jan. 31

Looking up (and out): “We’re particularly excited by the recent uptick in demand for ‘going-out’-type apparel and believe this bodes well for our spring and summer seasons.” — Richard Hayne, cofounder, chairman and CEO

Full story: Urban Outfitters CEO Sees Hope in ‘Going-out’ Fashions

The beauty department at Dillard's is shown at Fashion Show Mall Wednesday, May 23, 2012, in Las Vegas (Ronda Churchill/Freelance)

The Dillard’s store at Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas.  Ronda Churchill/WWD

Dillard’s Inc.

Net loss: $71.1 million

Revenue: $4.4 billion, down 30.1 percent

Fiscal year ended: Jan. 30

Controlling the controllables: “Our yearlong efforts to control inventory and expenses and preserve liquidity have resulted in encouraging fourth-quarter results.” — William T. Dillard 2nd, CEO

Full story: Dillard’s Posts Profit in Fourth Quarter

two people wearing hollister

Looks from Abercrombie’s Hollister business. 

Abercrombie & Fitch Co.

Net losses: $114 million

Revenue: $3.1 billion, down 13.7 percent

Fiscal year ended: Feb. 1

Shopping around: “Essentially, we are in a position of strength. We are on the offense. Acquisitions are an opportunity on our list.” — Fran Horowitz, CEO

Full story: Abercrombie & Fitch Ready to Buy a Brand

shopper taking kohl's shopping bag to car

Kohl’s is squaring off with activist investors.  Courtesy

Kohl’s Corp.

Net loss: $163 million

Revenue: $16 billion, down 20.1 percent

Fiscal year ended: Jan. 30

Beautified: “Sephora is a game changer for us. As we work more and more on it, we just continue to see more opportunities. The opportunity around the women’s [apparel] piece is that we should expect to see a halo effect. We’re going to be reaching customers who don’t have a Sephora nearby.” — Michelle Gass, CEO

Full story: Michelle Gass’ Master Plan at Kohl’s Starts to Click Into Place

Aerie Store

One of American Eagle Outfitter’s Aerie stores.  Courtesy Photo

American Eagle Outfitters Inc.

Net loss: $209.3 million

Net revenue: $3.8 billion, down 12.7 percent 

Fiscal year ended: Feb. 1

The styling shift: “We are definitely seeing signs [of demand for more occasion wear]. There’s definitely a jeans shift, for sure. And there’s always tops that need to go with that on the AE side. And the way I’m looking [at Aerie] is, how does Aerie support that [shift] with our foundations and our great intimates business? Which is the core to everything we do.” — Jennifer Foyle, chief creative officer of American Eagle Outfitters and global brand president of Aerie

Full story: Aerie Surpasses $1 Billion in Revenues; More Offline by Aerie Stores Coming

gap store pick up in store mask

Gap has been adjusting its practices during the pandemic.  Images by Cayce Clifford

Gap Inc.

Net loss: $665 million

Net revenue: $13.8 billion, down 15.8 percent

Fiscal year ended: Jan. 30

The crisis opportunity: “COVID-19 presented the biggest crisis our company or industry has ever faced. And alongside our employees, our customers, our communities and the rest of the world we faced challenges that defined a new path for every one of us. It’s also true that every crisis is an opportunity, and this one met Gap at a crucial pivot point. We use this opportunity to lead with our competitive advantages while embracing the values this company was founded on to emerge in a place of strength and with a clear path forward.” — Sonia Syngal, CEO

Full story: Gap Sees $234M Q4 Profit, but Still Logs Losses for 2020

The Outdoor Voices brands in the "center stage" at the Nordstrom flagship in Manhattan.

The Outdoor Voices brands in the “center stage” at the Nordstrom flagship in Manhattan.  CONNIE ZHOU

Nordstrom Inc.

Net losses: $690 million

Revenue: $10.4 billion, down 31.6

Fiscal tear ended: Jan. 30

Fashion concerns: “The toughest category just broadly is apparel, particularly men’s apparel. We have a sizable work and more formal assortment. That’s also true in women’s. Fashion apparel is the most perishable. It’s something of concern to us. We are being super conservative on what we are investing in there.” — Erik Nordstrom, CEO

Full story: ‘Unexpected Headwinds’ Drag Nordstrom Sales and Earnings Down

Macy's store

Macy’s 

Macy’s Inc.

Net loss: $3.9 billion 

Revenue: $17.4 billion, down 29.4 percent

Fiscal year ended: Feb. 1 

Logging on: “Our experience in 2020 increases our conviction to take bolder actions to drive our business forward as a digitally led omnichannel retailer. Under the Polaris strategy, which we introduced to you last February, we have shifted a large proportion of our current and future capital to digital, supply chain and technology platforms to better integrate our digital and physical assets and deliver the most-relevant shopping experiences. In part enabled by these shifts, we expect that approximately $10 billion in sales will come from the digital channels by 2023. We also plan to continue our focus on rightsizing [selling, general and administrative expenses], improving working capital efficiencies and modernizing our supply chain to support the omni shopping experience and customers’ evolving expectations around fulfillment speed.” — Jeff Gennette, chairman and CEO

Full story: Despite Q4 Drop, Macy’s Stays Optimistic and Sees Heady Digital Gains

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