Stores, malls seeing less in-person holiday shopping during pandemic

Albuquerque News

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Christmas is two weeks away and normally stores would be packed with people scrambling to get those last-minute gifts. With the pandemic, malls and stores are less crowded. KRQE News 13 crews drove all around Albuquerque and didn’t see as many people out holiday shopping compared to years past. Those who were out shopping noticed the difference as well.

“Oh, it’s a lot different. You don’t have lines, you know? I went into Chico’s and did some shopping there and you know, there’s probably only three or four people in the store,” said Betty, who was shopping at ABQ Uptown. “It was pretty empty. It was nice to come down here and find a parking space.”

“We were prepared for crowds but we haven’t run into any but it’s worked out ok for us,” said Gwen Owen, a shopper at ABQ Uptown.

There were no lines to get into Coronado Center or the shops at Windrock. At ABQ Uptown, there were some cars but the outdoor shopping center was by no means packed. Most stores were almost empty and some like the Apple Store stayed closed. Shoppers came out for a number of reasons, despite the pandemic. “Well, I think that’s the tradition of shopping is to come out and look at things. I like to be able to try things on,” said Betty. She said she did do some shopping online for relatives who live out-of-state.

“We’ve already completed most of our shopping for the year and most of it we did online…We’ve saved a few items that, some things it’s easier to pick if you can see them in person. So we’ve saved some of our items for that,” said Owen.

Some chain stores like Cost Plus World Market had a steady amount of shoppers but no line to get in, as of Friday afternoon. Other big-box stores like Target, Khol’s, and Costco, which are allowed to have up to 75 people inside, had big lines to get in on Friday afternoon.

Shoppers told KRQE New 13 they felt safe going in-person to shop for a number of reasons including that the stores required distancing and masks, and that they weren’t that busy with capacity limits in place. KRQE reached out to Cottonwood Mall and The Coronado Center to see how many shoppers they are seeing this holiday shopping season compared to year’s past. The Coronado Center never responded and Cottonwood Mall said they do not publicly release information regarding guest traffic.

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