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Foot traffic in stores on Black Friday was about a half of what it was last year.

Spending outpaced foot traffic because shoppers were more likely to purchase at the stores they did visit, said Brian Field, a senior director at Sensormatic Solutions, a tracking firm with cameras in stores.

“Customers, if they chose to shop in stores, they chose to be a little more thoughtful about where they wanted to shop,” said Field, whose firm’s research showed a 52 percent decline in in-store traffic on Black Friday compared to last year.

The pandemic has hit the retail sector particularly hard, cutting into both rent collection and foot traffic at stores and shopping centers, although there are signs of a rebound for the former. In October, retail rent collection hit 89 percent, the highest since before the pandemic.

But shopping centers have a long way to go before they’re out of the woods. Stores are closing, individual retailers are struggling and big mall landlords are ready to hand keys back to lenders.

[WSJ] — Akiko Matsuda

Boston Real Estate