Even after California allowed many shuttered businesses to reopen their doors, shoppers were slow to return to some LA’s biggest retail arteries.
Foot traffic in the last week of June at major LA retail corridors was down 41 percent from its level in the first week of March, according to data from geospatial analytics firm Orbital Insight.
Of all major retail arteries in Los Angeles, only Santa Monica Beach saw foot traffic come remotely within striking distance of its level in the first week of March. Traffic there was only down 14 percent. In normal times, however, traffic surges at beaches in the spring and summer months.
Foot traffic was down the most compared to the first week of March at the Santa Monica Pier. There, traffic dropped 74 percent. Santa Monica’s government began a phased reopening of the Pier on June 24, allowing the public only “limited and monitored” access to the Pier in an effort to enforce social distancing.
Several stores near the Santa Monica Pier were looted amid riots and unrest following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department.
Even though retail foot traffic is making a muted recovery, national chain retailers paid 68 percent of their rent in June, up from 58 percent in May, according to a Datex Data Solutions report. Rent collections by landlords with clothing stores, gyms and theaters as tenants have remained low, though.
The coronavirus-induced economic crash has dealt a coup de grace of sorts for big box retail. JC Penney, Neiman Marcus, and more recently, 24 Hour Fitness have each filed for bankruptcy protection since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United states. Mall owners are desperate to get more bodies in their doors, even if that means a potential spike in coronavirus-related liability lawsuits.
The coronavirus outbreak has shown few signs of slowing in California, and that hasn’t been helped by reopening of bars and gyms earlier this month. Coronavirus hospitalizations have surged 88 percent over the last month, according to the California Department of Public Health.