Summer 2021 Sales and Operations Update
The rebound of travel that began in spring continued into summer, leveling off in June and July. TSA checkpoint screenings in June and July averaged 80% of 2019, which is consistent with Eastern National sales when comparing the same periods. TSA screenings dropped slightly in August due to increased case counts and the Delta variant. We continue to see geographic differences in visitation trends, with rural areas and seashores seeing increased demand, while visitation to urban parks in the mid-Atlantic and northeast lagging pre-COVID levels.
There are three external factors impacting our operations and sales: a nationwide labor shortage; global supply chain disruptions; and closed stores. The labor shortage continues to have an impact on EN operations and our front-line team. In recent weeks we have made progress in recruiting, reducing the number of open positions by more than half. We appreciate the extra effort our team members have put in this summer to serve visitors.
Global supply chain disruptions have increased the time it takes vendors to fulfill orders for inventory, resulting in inventory shortages impacting sales in some stores. The longest delays have been with vendors who provide apparel, plush, and commemorative products. We are experiencing delays in obtaining products produced both domestically and overseas. Vendors expect these delays to remain through the middle of 2022, but possibly longer.
At the end of July, 79 EN stores remained closed. These stores are in 33 NPS units and 1 USFS location. Some are seasonal or secondary stores in a park that are operated exclusively or partially by our NPS partners. Reduced NPS seasonal staff levels at some parks are a factor in not opening facilities. Other stores remain closed due to local COVID assessments and conditions. There are 5 EN stores closed due to lack of EN staff or too few visitors to generate revenue to cover payroll.
EN sales for the month of July were 81% compared to July 2019. When comparing July 2021 sales to July of 2019, there were:
- 82 stores with sales increases generating an additional $710,000
- 92 stores with sales decreases totaling $1,070,000
- 79 closed stores with a sales loss of $700,000
Year-to-date sales through July are $10 million below the same period in 2019. We are pleased with recent sales trends and hopeful they will continue into fall and winter. We will closely monitor sales, along with internal and outside factors, and adjust our strategy for operations accordingly.