Children at the Park Meadows mall in Denver will be able to greet a masked Santa sitting safely on his sleigh 6 feet away, and families at Orlando’s Altamonte shopping center will share their wish lists from the bottom of a mountain of gifts with a socially distanced St. Nick perched on top. At the SoNo Collection, an upscale mall in Norwalk, Conn., a masked Santa will be behind a plexiglass shield shaped like a snow globe, giving the illusion that he’s trapped inside, safe from the kids chatting him up from the other side.
They’re all ways mall developer Brookfield Property Partners LP has devised to protect the seasonal performers—who are often older and plumper, putting them at higher risk of Covid complications—while also driving the holiday foot traffic that’s so critical to retailers’ bottom lines.
This holiday season, just 45% of U.S. consumers plan to go to a shopping mall, down from 64% who visited last November and December, according to an International Council of Shopping Centers survey. Having no Santa to draw families would be the latest blow to retailers, dozens of which have filed for bankruptcy in the past year, from J.C. Penney Co. to J.Crew Group Inc.
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November 23 - 30, 2020