New retail report expected to show comeback in Center City Philadelphia

Eighty percent of the retail storefronts within the Center City District are open for business, up from 55% in spring 2020.

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Friday, July 1, 2022
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A new report that comes out Thursday from the Center City District is expected to show progress.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A new report from the Center City District released on Thursday shows progress in Center City's coronavirus pandemic recovery.

The retail report update points to more foot traffic and more visitors.

"We're trying to get back to normal," said Drexel student Kyle Waterman.

Center City District gathered information through surveys, talks with brokers and retailers, and state sales tax data.

"I think it's really important, bring people back to the city, open up businesses, open up restaurants," said Barbara Eowins of Graduate Hospital.

Among the key findings: 80% of the retail storefronts within the Center City District are open for business, up from 55% in spring 2020 with 42 more retailers with announced openings for this year.

"You get to go into the different stores, and there's a couple of stores that just opened up," said Carmenita Washington of South Philadelphia.

The report states taxable retail sales for the first quarter of this year in core Center City are at 94% of 2019 levels and at 121% in extended Center City neighborhoods.

Shopper and visitor foot traffic is at 96% of pre-pandemic levels, according to this report.

"I think definitely as the weather has gotten nice people have been out and about, and it's heartening to see that," said Chris DiNardo of Center City.

Even with indoor seating completely restored, demand has not gone down for outdoor seating. The report noted that there are 68% more outdoor seats in Center City than before the pandemic.

Some do see the changes but add the city is not back yet.

"I do not think the city is back to pre-pandemic levels," said Brandon Bather of Camden. "It's definitely on the way back, but it's still not there yet."

The report also stated new businesses are opening and existing retailers are moving to new and, in some cases, larger locations.