New retail report expected to show return to downtown Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — A new report released Thursday by the Downtown District is expected to show progress.

The updated retail report will show more foot traffic and more visitors in downtown Philadelphia.

“We’re trying to get back to normal,” said Kyle Waterman, a student at Drexel.

The Downtown District gathered information through surveys, discussions with brokers and retailers, and state sales tax data.

Among the key findings: 80% of downtown storefronts are open for business, up from 55% in spring 2020, with another 42 retailers announcing openings for this year.

The report says taxable retail sales for the first quarter of this year in the downtown core are at 94% of 2019 levels and 121% in the extended downtown neighborhoods.

According to the report, foot traffic from shoppers and visitors is at 96% of pre-pandemic levels.

Even with the fully restored indoor seating, demand has not diminished for outdoor seating. The report notes that there are 68% more outdoor seats in the city center than before the pandemic.

Some see the changes, but add that the city is not yet back to normal.

“I don’t think the city is back to pre-pandemic levels,” said Brandon Bather of Camden. “It’s definitely on its way back, but it’s still not there yet.”

The report also says new businesses are opening and existing retailers are moving to new, and in some cases larger, locations.

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