firstinsightcomfortableshoppingsurvey

A general view of a near-empty shopping mall in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, China, on April 16, 2020. China is re-emerging from the coronavirus outbreak but shopping is still appears to be far from normal, which indicate what U.S. retailers can expect to confront in the months ahead. CREDIT: ALEX PLAVEVSKI/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Department stores and apparel retailers unfortunately may have more bad news coming their way even if physical stores start opening again.

As states across the U.S. consider the alternatives on how to best reopen stores, shoppers are least confident about reentering malls, with only 33 percent of respondents saying they would feel safe shopping in these locations, according to a survey from retail predictive analytics company, First Insight. What’s more, just 37 percent say they would feel safe shopping in a department store.

Considering many malls and the department stores within them already have seen traffic declines in recent years well before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, this is not a good sign for these businesses as they attempt to rebound.

Compare those numbers to the 54 percent of shoppers saying they would feel safe shopping in grocery stores, and 50 percent that harbor the same sentiment about drug stores, and it is clear that there are significantly different degrees of comfort within different store environments and formats.

Forty-five percent of consumers would feel safe shopping at big-box retailers, and 43 percent said the same for shopping at local small businesses and warehouse clubs, respectively.

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