Mall of America making comeback with new stores, more shoppers, but challenges remain

The Mall of America in Bloomington has announced several new store openings lately, a sign that one of the country’s premier malls is pulling out of the slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Foot traffic is not as high as before the pandemic, but it has been on the upswing.

“Traffic has been increasing,” said Sarah Grap, an MOA spokeswoman, during a busy day at the mall last week as some visitors celebrated the Muslim holiday of Eid. “We are very optimistic that things are moving in the right direction.”

Still, after a year that saw the shuttering of numerous stores and financial difficulties for the retail industry as a whole, there is a long way to go before MOA and other malls in the Twin Cities area recover from the pandemic.

Visits to the Mall of America in April were down a bit more than 18% compared with the same month in 2019, the best comparison since the beginning of the pandemic, according to research firm Placer.ai.

“Considering the heavy impact of tourism on Mall of America visits, the narrowing of the visit gap already is an incredibly powerful indication that a full return could come very quickly,” Placer.ai said in a statement.

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