Placer.ai’s latest mall index—the sample for which has been doubled to 100 U.S. properties—indicates that traffic in enclosed shopping centers during June was only eight percentage points off June 2019.
Traffic has been steadily increasing along with vaccination rates, moving up more than 20 percentage points since February and 13 points since March, according to the digital traffic-tracking company.
“This consistent progress – even without a major shopping holiday – shows the true strength of the rebound for this critical retail format,” said Placer.ai’s VP of marketing Ethan Chernofsky.
Traffic was off only 5.6% from 2019 levels at outdoor malls in June, yet that represented a slippage from May when crowd strengths were nearly the same as two years ago. Placer.ai posited that outdoor centers may have fared better than usual with Memorial Day sales in May, when some enclosed malls remained fully or partially closed.
Don’t look for traffic to continue to move up as fall approaches. The back-to-school season in 2019 was especially successful for retailers and might be hard to match.
“If the gap increases, it may have more to do with the heights hit in 2019 than the pace of recovery in 2021,” Chernofsky said. “If the gap continues to shrink, however, it will be an exceptionally strong sign for the retail sector.”