North American Shoppers Slowly Return to Stores After Lockdowns

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(Bloomberg) -- Shoppers are slowly trickling back to stores as they reopen after a two-month shutdown to battle the coronavirus pandemic.

Visits to U.S. and Canadian retailers have risen for two straight weeks. For the week ended May 15, foot traffic to shops was 92% below the same period a year ago, compared with a 95% falloff in the previous seven days, according to location-data provider Prodco Analytics.

North American Shoppers Slowly Return to Stores After Lockdowns

Retail traffic began falling shortly after the first U.S. virus case was confirmed in January. Most stores then followed government guidelines to shut locations. Now that many places have lifted restrictions, stores are beginning to welcome shoppers again.

There are early indications that foot-traffic numbers continue to improve. Kohl’s Corp., which began reopening stores in early May, said Tuesday that activity at those locations at first was 50% to 60% of what it normally would have been. But the chain said there’s been “progressive improvement” at stores that have been open for two weeks.

Several retailers have said they would begin a phased reopening process in the past week, including Nike Inc., Coach and Kate Spade parent Tapestry Inc., and PVH Corp., which owns several fashion labels including Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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