Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a account? Log In Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?

Ethan Chernofsky
February 6, 2023 Mall Index: January 2023 – Returning Mall Normalcy?

About the Mall Indexes: These Indexes analyze data from more than 100 top-tier indoor malls, 100 open-air lifestyle centers (not including outlet malls) and 100 outlet malls across the country, in both urban and suburban areas. uses anonymized location information from a panel of 30 million devices and processes the data using industry-leading AI and machine learning capabilities to make estimations about overall visits to specific locations

When we look back at mall performance in 2022, the general takeaway is one of relative success for a segment that had been uniquely challenged by the pandemic and its retail effects. This was especially impressive considering that the impact of COVID was rapidly replaced by economic headwinds that limited a full return to business as usual. In short, 2022 was marked by volatility that hindered a full visit recovery for many within the mall sector.

And these headwinds are still lingering presenting ongoing challenges to retail formats of all kinds. So how did mall visits kick off 2023, and did it provide a step forward for this segment?

Strong Start 

Looking at visits year over year (YoY), indoor malls, open-air lifestyle centers and outlet malls saw visits increases of 4.1%, 5.2% and 2.7% respectively. The wider trend of YoY uptick is significant because of the draw these formats have shown in the face of powerful economic challenges. They also indicate the lingering power of key shifts to tenancy strategies that many top-tier malls have deployed. 

Yet, there are elements that make the context more friendly. For example, the comparison to January 2022, when the rise of the Omicron variant had a significant impact on retail visits nationwide. For this reason, year-over-three-year (Yo3Y) visits remained down with all formats seeing declines compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Weekly Visits, Nuanced Context

However, a weekly visit analysis presents a more nuanced approach that better identifies the strengths and weaknesses these segments have shown. For example, the weeks beginning on December 26th, January 2nd and even January 9th shine through with even greater power in a Yo3Y analysis. While visits may have been down overall, those weeks showed significant strength.

All three weeks showed visits near or above the same period in 2020, another sign of the continued power of top-tier malls considering the challenging economic environment currently affecting retail. These lifts also speak to some of the unique elements that defined the 2022-2023 holiday season. For one, the presence of key holidays like Christmas and New Year’s on Sundays meant that official days off took place on a Monday without a holiday. This created more opportunity for retail strength as shopping didn’t conflict with holiday celebrations. In addition, presents in the form of gift cards and online shopping-driven returns all led to an increase in the brick-and-mortar retail environment in the immediate aftermath of the holidays.

And while visits did return to declines compared to 2020 the weeks beginning January 16th and 23rd, the gaps did show a positive trajectory decline week over week.

The same story comes through looking at weekly visits YoY with major peaks hitting in late December and early January. Here, the declines in YoY strength indicate that the aforementioned boost from a COVID affected January 2022 was starting to dissipate by late January. However, when this is seen in combination with the growing strength from a Yo3Y perspective, the clear conclusion is that a more normal mall situation may be coming soon.

A final indication of the return of mall normalcy is the distribution of visits throughout the week. Where December saw the relative decline of Sunday visits – because of the holidays falling out on these days –  January has seen the return of weekend shopping. 

Has normalcy returned to mall shopping? Will this recovery trigger a wave of strength for the format? Or will lingering economic headwinds like inflation continue to limit their full power? 

Visit to find out.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Outlet Malls
Text Link
Indoor Malls
Text Link
Open-Air Malls
Limited Time Offers: Price Wars Boost Visits
Placer 100 Index for Retail & Dining: June 2024 Recap Mall Index: June 2024 Recap Office Index: June 2024 Recap
Inside Out 2: The New Blockbuster Bringing Crowds Back to Theaters
Petco and PetSmart: A Head to Head
Frozen Delights: Exploring Ice Cream Chains Across America White Paper Recap – June 2024
Barnes & Noble: Writing a New Story
Small Format Stores - Sprouting, Blooming, and Expanding
Retail and Dining on Father’s Day
Thrift Store Visit Scores
Charting Value Grocery’s Visit Growth
Placer 100 Index for Retail & Dining: Introduction and May 2024 Recap
Digging Into Darden: Q2 2024 Update
2024 Retail and Dining Trends Update
TRU and avid: Midscale Hotels on the Rise 
Diving Into Kroger: A Strong Start to 2024 Mall Index: May 2024 Recap – Mall Visits on the Rebound Office Index: May 2024 Recap
2024 Memorial Day Recap
Las Vegas: A Tourism and Migration Deep Dive
Eatertainment Chains: Full on Food, Fun, and Foot Traffic
The Promise of Luxury Apparel
Catching Up With Ulta Beauty & Gap Brands
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and Five Below: Q1 2024 Treasure Troves
CAVA Still Going Strong
Driving Success: Auto Parts Chains in 2024
Checking in With DICK’S Sporting Goods
Mother’s Day Shopping and Dining Trends Mall Index: April 2024 Recap – Retail Resilience Heading into Spring
Dollar Stores Still Gaining Momentum
Off-Price Apparel Chains After Q1 2024: Demographics in the Balance
Walmart, Target, and Wholesale Clubs Continue to Thrive
Home Improvement and Decor Check In Office Index: April 2024 Recap – Recovery Continues
Movie Theaters in Q1 2024: A Preview of Coming Attractions?
Let’s Get Physical: Fitness In 2024
Where Are Workers Returning to Office in 2024?
2024 Wins: Sweetgreen & First Watch on the Rise
A Full-Service Turnaround: Bloomin’, Dine, and Texas Roadhouse
Wendy’s and Denny’s: Breakfast and Late Night Dining Drives Success
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024? White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy Mall Index: February 2024 Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024:’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap