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Light September mall traffic came back big on Labor Day

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Outlet center traffic rose 217% above the September average on Labor Day.

Mall traffic had its ups and downs in September. 

Overall shopping mall visits decreased in September despite a slight uptick towards the end of the month, according to foot traffic analytics provider’s latest Mall Index Recap. In September, outlet mall visits dropped by 8.7% year-over-year and indoor malls experienced a 6.9% dip in visits year-over-year. Open-air shopping centers had the smallest drop-off of just 2.5% compared to 2022.

Despite the overall monthly decrease, which continues the downward trend of visits since July, mall visits increased towards the end of the month. During the week of Sept. 18, indoor malls and open-air shopping centers each saw visits increase 3.8% week-over-week. Outlet mall visits remained nearly flat, decreasing just 0.4%. For the week of Sept. 25, indoor mall visits rose 0.9%, outlet mall visits increased 3.7%, and open-air shopping center visits fell by 1%.

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Late summer mall visits (Credit: summer mall traffic
Late summer mall visits (Credit:

“Still, these are just two weeks, and looking at the data on a year-over-year basis shows that visits are still behind 2022 levels,” said Shira Petrack, content manager for, in the blog post announcing the September data. “But the week-over-week increase may indicate that the current difficulties facing the wider retail sectors are moderating, just in time for a critical holiday season.”

Labor Day weekend proved the month’s outlier, however. Outlet mall traffic over that Saturday, Sunday, and Monday increased by 29.9%, 49.2% and 217.4%, respectively, relative to the averages of those days during September’s other three weekends. Indoor malls and open-air shopping centers experienced modest increases on Saturday and Sunday before registering significant lifts of 104.7% and 69.6%, respectively, on Monday, Sept. 4. 

Given the success of Labor Day weekend and end-of-summer promotions, expected to see mall visits increase in the coming months with shoppers soon to begin holiday shopping.

“Even though mall visits fell relative to last year and foot traffic throughout September generally remained lower than it had been earlier in the summer, the Labor Day data indicates that consumers have not given up on malls,” said Petrack. “With many retailers launching promotions in October – and as the holiday shopping moves earlier and earlier into the season – the next couple of months will be critical to understanding where malls stand in the current retail landscape.”’s Mall Index analyzes data from 100 inoor malls, 100 open-air shopping centers, and 100 outlet malls across the country, in both urban and suburban areas.

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