Almost a year ago, on March 11, the World Health Organization officially declared that the spread of the coronavirus was a pandemic. Lockdowns and social distancing soon became a fact of life, and companies that rely on people gathering and moving around were hit hard.
But in recent weeks, many of these businesses have said they see signs that people are preparing to go out again: to the office, on vacation and elsewhere. Taken together, the DealBook newsletter notes, these indicators suggest that a reopening might be around the corner, as vaccines roll out, the weather changes or people simply seek out something new after so long in isolation. (Scientists say that people should be careful even after being vaccinated.)
Apparel. Richard Hayne, the chief executive of Urban Outfitters, told investors this week that its brands had recently been selling more “going out-type apparel.” In the last week of February, seven of Anthropologie’s top 10 sellers online were dresses, which may suggest that shoppers are preparing for life beyond Zoom. “Over the past year, we were lucky if they included one or two dresses,” Mr. Hayne said.
Concert tickets. “We’re feeling more optimistic than we were a month ago,” Live Nation’s chief executive, Michael Rapino, said on an earnings call last week. When the company recently released nearly 200,000 tickets for summer music festivals in Britain, they sold out in days.
Trips to Vegas. Tom Reeg, the chief executive of the casino giant Caesars Entertainment, told analysts that bookings were up 20 percent month on month. “It’s almost like a switch was flipped sometime late January, early February,” he said last week. Apollo Global Management’s co-head of private equity, David Sambur, cited these numbers when explaining the firm’s big bet on a Las Vegas recovery: the $6.25 billion acquisition of the Venetian casino and expo center announced on Wednesday.
Cruise bookings. Royal Caribbean’s chief executive, Michael Bayley, recently told investors that the company recorded a 30 percent jump in new bookings this year, compared with the last two months of 2020. A large share are people over 65, who are counting on being vaccinated soon, Mr. Bayley suggested. The company, which suspended most cruises through April, began a $1.5 billion stock sale this week.
Gym memberships. January was the first month that Planet Fitness saw a net increase in memberships since the pandemic began, according to Chris Rondeau, the gym chain’s chief. The uptick “reinforces our belief that people want to return to bricks-and-mortar fitness,” he told analysts.
But not movie tickets (yet). Alamo Drafthouse filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, making it one of the most prominent movie chains to seek Chapter 11 protection during the pandemic. Still, it expressed some optimism, “because of the increase in vaccination availability, a very exciting slate of new releases and pent-up audience demand,” said Tim League, the company’s founder.