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Madison Avenue Left Out Of NYC Shopping Revival

While shoppers are returning to New York’s brick-and-mortar retailers looking to upgrade their fashion, one swanky Manhattan shopping district seems to have been forgotten.

As Bloomberg reported Friday (Aug. 20), foot traffic on Madison Avenue between 57th Street and 72nd Street was at just 71 percent of its rate from two years ago for the week of Aug. 8. By comparison, two other districts — Soho and Upper Fifth Avenue — are ahead, with Soho seeing more shoppers than before the pandemic began.

All three districts have traditionally been popular with high-end shoppers from New York and around the world. And while many shopping epicenters have been hurt by the rise of eCommerce, Madison Avenue was hurt more than most. COVID saw many stores closing for good, the news outlet reported.

It doesn’t help that the neighborhood no longer seems “hip,” Ruth Colp-Haber, who runs Wharton Property Advisors Inc, told Bloomberg.

“You’re more likely to meet your friend down in Soho to go to brunch on the weekend than you are to go to a museum on Madison Avenue,” she said. “They don’t want to go uptown — that’s where their parents and grandparents are living.”

Meanwhile, retail traffic on Upper Fifth Avenue between 49th Street and 60th Street has recovered to 92 percent of pre-pandemic levels, according to Orbital.

And in downtown Soho, foot traffic has been around 110 percent of 2019 levels since early last month, with shoppers flocking to the Apple Store, Lululemon and Uniqlo.

Learn more: After Brief Mid-Summer Surge, Weak And Stagnant Malls Threatened By Fresh Headwinds

The great reopening of 2021 hasn’t meant across the board success for brick-and-mortar retailers. As PYMNTS reported earlier this week, consumers have been steadily returning to indoor malls as the year has progressed and concerns about COVID-19 have reduced.

Indoor malls saw just a 9.3 percent drop in visits in June when compared to 2019, and visitor numbers in July were relatively even between 2019 and 2021.

But not all malls were as lucky. Bankruptcies of chains like JCPenney, Neiman Marcus and Brooks Brothers have left many anchor stores empty, and the rise of eCommerce has only made the decline of less successful malls more pronounced.

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