Placer Bytes: October Updates for Malls, AMC and GameStop

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In this Placer Bytes, we dive into the latest from AMC Theatres and GameStop and break down the latest Mall Index update.

Meme-based Recoveries

Though the hype surrounding AMC Theatres and GameStop was more Reddit-driven, public market intrigue and had less to do with actual performance, the two brands had indeed been recovering in terms of visits. And while a steady recovery is worth celebrating in this unique market environment, the latest data shows just how significant those returns have been. 

In October, AMC continued its recovery with visits down just 17.4% compared to the same month in 2019. The visits marked a contraction of more than 20.0% in the visit gap from September, giving the chain its best month since the start of the pandemic. And all this ahead of a holiday season that will see the launch of several big motion pictures. However, it’s very important to remember that the October standard is ‘easier’ to beat than the one that the brand will be held to in November and December. So, if the gap does expand again, but continues to progress compared to earlier months, the trajectory could still be very positive. If, however, the shrinking continues, the optimism surrounding AMC could surge once again.

A similar trend continues to drive strength for GameStop, which saw visits up 3.4% compared to October 2019, the first month of year-over-two-year growth in 2021. The jump speaks both to the bump that the wider notoriety around the brand seems to have given to the company’s retail prospects and to a uniquely exciting holiday retail season. The combination of a desired product line, renewed joy around brick-and-mortar shopping, and wider pent-up demand could drive significant offline strength for the gaming retailer.

The Mall Rebound Picks Up Steam

Note: This mall index focuses on 100 top tier malls and 100 outdoor centers across the country to understand the nature of the retail recovery.

The Placer.ai Mall Index showed another strong month in October, with visits up 3.2% compared to the same month in 2019 for indoor malls and up 4.7% for outdoor and outlet centers. The increase likely speaks to the push being made by retailers to spread the holiday season earlier to help account for supply chain and labor challenges. 

But the jump also comes along with many reasons for significant optimism around mall performance in the coming holiday season. The loss of a ‘normal’ retail season in 2020 could drive pent-up demand for the season, and supply issues may create an added push to go to the store itself.  And malls have other assets that could give them even more strength. The winter months’ privilege indoor locations, and the combination of entertainment and dining options in a single space give malls the ability to provide a ‘full day out’. Even elements like mall santas could have a unique draw in a year when a search for missed traditions drives significant traffic. These strengths provide added value in a period that will likely be less defined by Black Friday visits and more by an expanded approach to ‘when to shop.’

What will the holiday season bring? 

Visit Placer.ai to find out.

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