Malls and shopping centers in Lancaster get innovative to secure holiday sales, keep shoppers safe

Lancaster

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — It’s no secret retailers have been struggling throughout the pandemic. Many have been forced to close their doors for good.

Malls and shopping centers were having trouble staying open before coronavirus came into the picture, and the holidays are a vital time for foot traffic.

Now, stores are being innovative to give business a boost during the holiday season and to keep shoppers safe.

Monica Trego, the general manager at the Tanger Outlets in East Lampeter Township, Lancaster County says many people do feel safe because of the open-air environment.

She says the outlets are doing fairly well, considering these challenging times.

Tanger launched a virtual shopper program for people who don’t feel comfortable shopping in-person.

Customers call shopper services and tell them what they’re looking for. A worker then goes to the store and gets it. Items get shipped directly to homes.

The majority of these stores also have curbside assistance.

If you are shopping the old-fashioned way, most stores give complimentary masks and have sanitation stations.

You do see lines, given the occupancy rules.

Some days, there are food trucks, in an effort to keep the environment festive during this different holiday season.

Management says surprisingly enough, these outlets saw some record-high sales when the state first reopened in the spring.

They believe that’s because people wanted to get out and spend money, but still couldn’t at theaters or sporting events.

Even so, many stores saw significant losses, making it clear 2020 simply can’t compare to other years.

“There’s a big recovery period,” said Trego. “I think our goal is that they will be as successful as they possibly can at the end of this month. Obviously, we know when we get into first quarter we get cold and not as many folks will come out to shop.”

The National Retail Federation predicts two-thirds of holiday shoppers will make purchases the week following Christmas.

The Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry hasn’t yet released data that would show how much the pandemic and holiday sales have impacted businesses. ABC27 is told that’s expected in the weeks and months to come.

Requests to several other malls and shopping centers across the Midstate about how they’re doing during this time went unanswered.

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