Jan 13, 2021 - Economy & Business

The worst of the coronavirus pandemic may be over for shopping malls

Data: Placer.ai; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Placer.ai; Chart: Axios Visuals

Holiday traffic at malls was surprisingly not terrible, data tracking firm Placer.ai says in a new report analyzing foot traffic from more than two dozen malls across the country. The findings are "not as bleak as many had feared."

By the numbers: Mall visits were within 30% of 2019's pace in October, the smallest decline since February (when traffic was up 10.7% over 2019), but the resurgence of COVID-19 cases caused visitor counts to reverse in November, declining 42.2% year over year.

  • December saw a holiday bounce back, with foot traffic down 32.4% from 2019's levels.

What's next: "Placer.ai’s team thinks that 2021 could be a big year for malls, as customers are itching to get out and shop," Placer analysts said in a report.

  • "We’ll have to wait and see what happens, of course, but it’s likely that the most difficult stretch is in the past for many shopping malls."
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