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A glimmer of hope for brick-and-mortar retailers?

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause pains for many brick-and-mortar locations in many countries. Looking at the U.S., a new study from Zenreach, a walk-through marketing company, shows that while some areas of the U.S. are seeing a rise in sales and visitors, others are struggling through the recovery.

Based on the collected data, Zenreach found that foot traffic to different retail and other locations has remained steady throughout most of the pandemic, though it is at roughly half the pre-pandemic levels. While some outlets have successfully bridged the physical and digital divide, or transformed wholly to an on-line service, other retailers remain very reliant upon having the brightly decorated store front in the provincial shopping mall.

Notably, several states are leading the country in increases in foot traffic over the two weeks preceding October 30, 2020. Those areas where there are signs of hope for retail and which have seen a higher number of on-premises visitors, from the Zenreach figures, are:

Oklahoma: +4.6 percent
Georgia: +4.4 percent
North Carolina: +4.3 percent
New Jersey: +2.7 percent
Utah: +2.7 percent

With the above Oklahoma stands high as the state where more people have braved, or foolishly (depending on your point of view), side-stepped the COVID-19 restrictions and returned to stores in higher number.

However, these five states lead the nation in decrease over the same time frame. These are:

Wisconsin: -6.4 percent
Colorado: -6.3 percent
Illinois: -6.3 percent
Maryland: -4.2 percent
Connecticut: -4.2 percent

It would seem that in Connecticut people are giving stores a wider berth. Some individual industries are seeing increases and decreases nationwide as well. For example, sports centers/outdoor sports are seeing an 11.6 percent uptick while hotels/accommodations are seeing an equal decrease. Places of worship are up 3.3 percent while retail is down 4 percent. Medical locations are up 2.3 percent and marijuana dispensaries are down 8.2 percent. This time next year the scope of the trail sector could look very different indeed.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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