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Random Walk Promotional Outlier Focus: Nike Partners Sending Record Discounts

Random Walk New Keyword Tracker Launched.  Our new technology helps investors instantly detect changes in the promotional intensity brands are using to communicate with leads. Detect inflections in core demand through tracking of desperation keywords in emails such as “extra”, “extended”, and “one more day”.

Keyword tracker uncovered the largest ever spike in “Nike” related keywords from key wholesale partner email correspondance over the past two weeks.
PREVIEW: Promotional Outlier Focus: Nike Partners Sending Record Volume of Discount Campaigns

Last quarter, Nike reported slowing revenue growth as consolidated revenue increased year-over-year by 5%, down from 14% year-over-year growth in the prior quarter. While total promotional activity direct from Nike is stable, we are capturing record breaking volumes of Nike coupons from wholesale partners implying lagging organic demand. We also anticipate a weak quarter for Foot Locker, which purchased 65% of its athletic merchandise from Nike during the most recent fiscal year.
 Foot Locker (FL) sent record volumes of “Nike” focused promotions in July. We have tracked a 67% year-over-year increase in email volumes containing “Nike” for the May-July period

.Academy Sports & Outdoors (ASO) sent greater volumes of “Nike” focused promotions this Summer. We tracked a 49% year-over-year increase in email volumes containing “Nike” for the May-July period.

Shoe Carnival (SCVL) Shoe Carnival “Nike” focused promotion volume increased by 2,783% on a year-over-year basis for the May-July period.

Macy’s (M) We captured a rare “Special 20-25% off from Nike”.

Promotional Heatmaps by Subsector July 9

  • Mattresses experienced the fastest total promotional email volume growth last week.
  • Live entertainment continues to see the biggest decline for the past quarter in term of significant discounts.
  • Petcare is seeing fast rising significant discounts over the past quarter.
  • Footwear remains one of the more promotional subsectors in our coverage with 11 of 15 tickers recording substantially higher significant promotional volume YoY last week.
  • For the first time since March, Home Depot and Lowe’s both stayed out of “red” in the same week for increases in significant promotional volume. Both HD and LOW exhibited stable YoY total promotion volume.
  • Our Department Store index has captured a divergence between several well-known retailers with some ramping promotions and others now easing. Earlier this summer we tracked largely “worsening” trends.
  • Outdoor Apparel remains a longstanding member on the “worsening” list as all tickers in our index recorded increased total promotional volume YoY over the past two weeks.
  • Furniture demand continues to lag as total promotional volume is ~40% higher YoY and significant promotional volume was up 122% YoY in the week ended June 12.

NEW: Promotional Heat Maps by Subsector

June 28

We recently launched a new product that examines trends of promotional activity within subsectors.


  • Footwear promotional volume continues to accelerate higher. 9 of the 13 tickers in our footwear index exhibited a “worsening” promotional trend last week with 12 of 14 worsening on a monthly basis.
  • Luxury Retail demand appears weak as significant promotional volume has worsened on a YoY rate of change basis at several major companies in our subsector index.
  • The Sporting Goods subsector has emerged as another addition to the worsening list. All 8 companies in this index have sent out substantially higher promotional volume in the most recent week compared to the prior year.
  • Outdoor Apparel promotions continue to stand out as significant promotion volume YoY growth for this subsector exceeded 100% in three consecutive weeks recently.
  • Demand doesn’t appear to be returning at home improvement retailers. Promotional volume is substantially higher at all 5 companies in our index compared to the prior year.

Ramping Promotional Campaigns in Home Goods Indicate Slowdown Accelerating


 Matt Gordon
Greg Robin

 APRIL 20, 2023
Random Walk  Email intelligence suggests management is responding to fading organic demand in home furnishings and home improvement with more aggressive pushed offers to their leads lists this spring

Home and home furnishing related names have been more aggressive in sending promotions to leads this April compared to last, with Wayfair (W) and Pottery Barn(WSM) as standouts on our slowing list. Each had more faster ramps year-over-year promotion growth in significant discounts.

Home improvement retailers Home Depot (HD) and Lowe’s (LOW) are dealing with declining demand in part by sending new and more frequent email promotions to leads. We also recently captured new spring holiday language unseen in prior years.

In terms of fastest growers of total email volumes Floor & Decor (FND) stands out.  Total promotional volume is a good way to measure concerns from brands that do not discount such as Restoration Hardware(RH).  As can be seen above, RH is sending more communications to leads, despite no significant discounts outside of the outlet.

Our updated promotional ensembles provide the most robust, quantitative and rigorous views of how brands are communicating with leads.

2022 Recap, Looking Ahead to 2023


  • 2022 Trends: Chasing Precision with ‘Science’
  • Record IPOs Email Promotions, Unsustainable Growth
  • Investing to Improve our Processes
  • Inflections: Select Winners and Losers
  • Goals for 2023
For many of our inflections Street Consensus was inaccurate by more than 40%.


Promotional Index Launch

With more than 6 years of historical data tracking email promotional activity from nearly 300 consumer brands we are excited to launch our first data product!

This fall select clients can access structured weekly data for this first time.

Investors will be able to quantify and help answer the following:

  • Changes in campaign frequency
    • Did a brand run more marketing campaigns in order to drive sales?
    • Did a brand reduce campaigns as demand increases?
  • Growth in customer and lead lists
    • Has a business grown its lead list?
  • Intensity of promotional offers and discounts
    • Did the size of discount increase as a seasonal sale progressed?
    • Did the coupon specify a higher discount than prior periods?
  • Changes in promoted products
    • Are there changes in which products are being discounted?
  • Changes in targeting strategy
    • Is a brand struggling to hit sales quotas engaging in more “blasts” to its entire list?
Compare current promotional cadence with prior periods

AEO, ANF, GES: Promotional Ensemble Reveals Sharp Decline in Discounting

Our promotional email ensemble helped investors better understand and quantify the magnitude of changes in the intensity and aggressiveness that apparel brands such as Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF), American Eagle (AE) and Guess (GES) are sending. As weather has warmed, our promotional ensemble reveals robust demand growth as consumers previously stuck at home load up on “going out” summer apparel.

Our promotional ensemble quantifies the changes such as key declines in the volume of email campaigns, the distribution discounts offered.

ANF: 93% decline in discounting email volume this May
Significant Promotion heat map measures changes weekly

Successfully channelling rebounding demand for swimwear, AEO’s Aerie has further throttled back its promotions.

Our tracking on an sector basis reveals AEO has become one of the least aggressive promotors compared with its peers compared with just a year ago.

For Guess, our email intelligence allows investors to quantify the exact campaign frequency and intensity. As can be seen below, Guess is pushing out significant promotions and discount coupons much less frequently than a year ago as organic demand has rebounded.

DOCU, WIX, FVRR, UPWK: Unique Data Sets Uncover Secular Changes before the Street

Tracking New Customer Acquisition: 2020 was our most successful year in uncovering demand changes undetected by ‘big data’ credit card and transactional sellers. As COVID forced Americans inside, consumers discovered existing virtual solutions were superior to legacy in person dependent platforms.

For Docusign (DOCU), Fiverr (FVRR), Upwork (UPWK), Wix (WIX) our email intelligence captured exponential explosive growth in new customer acquisitions a full quarter ahead of pricy ‘big data’ transactional providers. By focusing on unique leading indicators such as “Welcome to Docusign” and “Your Wix site is published” instead of chasing coincident revenue proxies such as receipts we provided our investor subscriber parters a big jump on their competition. Docusign (DOCU) shares have appreciated more than 150% since growth in consumers receiving these confirmations triggered our identification in MARCH. Similarly, our methodology identified Upwork(UPWK) to start May with shares quadrupling.

If consumer preferences changes again as Americans leave their homes our investor partners will be the first to know.

The Promotional Spotlight:

We recently made substantial upgrades to our email categorization system. As as result of this, we can now better understand which brands and businesses are changing how they communicate with consumers and leads.

Our weekly ‘Promotional Spotlight’ report highlights the brands whose discounting and promotional activity have diverged the most since the prior year. We can provide custom analysis for investors in brands of interest. Which brands increased their steep discounts? Which brands are sending their seasonal sale related email offers more frequently? Are brands slowing their sending pace based on strong demand.