Store Visits Drop in North America for First Time in 10 Weeks

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Consumers pulled back from visiting stores in the U.S. and Canada last week, a new setback for retail’s tentative recovery amid coronavirus flare-ups.

After more than two months of improvement, retail traffic worsened for the week ended July 3, down nearly 52% from the same period a year ago, according to location-data provider Prodco Analytics. That was down from a roughly 50% decline the week prior and erased gains made since mid-June.

Store Visits Drop in North America for First Time in 10 Weeks

The decline marks the first for North America store visits since April, shortly after the spread of Covid-19 prompted a widespread shutdown of retail establishments. Stores remained closed for nearly two months before beginning to reopen in May.

Rising virus cases may be causing the latest pullback, along with hot weather attracting people to newly reopened beaches and parks instead of stores, said Poonam Goyal, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence.

Shops are getting creative to bring people back to stores, offering personal shopping outside regular business hours, as well as curbside browsing and pickup. Still, some may never reopen: A record 25,000 could permanently close this year in the U.S., according to a report from retail data firm Coresight Research.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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