HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY/AP) — The owner of Hampton Roads’ two outlet shopping malls report that customer traffic was up this year for Thanksgiving night and Black Friday.
It’s good news for retailers that have seen a decline in traffic amid the increasing popularity of online shopping.
Customer traffic at outlet malls on the East Coast was up on Black Friday compared to a year ago, according to Steve Yalof, CEO of Simon Property Group’s Premium Outlets. The company owns both Norfolk Premium Outlets and Williamsburg Premium Outlets.
Many stores at Simon Property Group’s outlets were discounting designer merchandise by 50 percent, on top of discounts of 35 percent to 65 percent.
At traditional malls, it’s all about “experiences” while shopping, according to Karen Husselbee, spokeswoman for MacArthur Center in Norfolk.
For the first time in 21 years, the mall is without one of its anchor stores. Nordstrom closed in April and thus far no new tenant has been announced for the space.
To keep shoppers coming in, free interactive exhibits called “Impulse,” and “Island of Warmth” have been placed outside.
Also inside there’s a free gift wrapping station, which is new in 2019.
“This way you just just wrap them all and you’re good to go,” Husselbee said.
Hamilton Perkins Collection is marking its first holiday season inside the mall and is also driving to make their store an “experience” for shoppers.
“What we’ve really done is really instituted events and really activated the space so you’ll find everything from Instagram meetups, fundraisers shopping events,” Hamilton Perkins, the founder of the store, said.
All activities at MacArthur are expected to last through the holiday season.