Shoppers returning to shopping centers brings hope to Amarillo’s retail industry

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AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - Rebound seems to be in the horizon for the local retail industry as shoppers are returning to the shopping centers with an urge to spend.

Foot traffic at the Westgate Mall is back to pre-pandemic times, which according to general manager, Kaitlyn Pillow, means 50 to 60 thousand people visiting a week.

Phillip Watkins, owner of The Knife Guys says sales in March were similar to Christmas time.

“It was unbelievable, we were blessed and people are spending money again and they’re coming out,” said Watkins.

Other stores like, Amarillo Candle have also noticed customers making bigger purchases.

According to Pillow, the first spike in traffic this year was in April, coinciding with the latest round of government stimulus checks.

Today was the first time Danna Bickford and her family visited the mall in over a year.

“Amarillo was bad,” said Bickford. “We didn’t want to risk it and I have two little kids.”

With the vaccine rollout and mask mandates being lifted, she feels more comfortable about returning to the mall.

“We were excited! My husband needs a shirt for a wedding,” said Bickford.

“I was happy to get to normal life and be able to go to the mall, feel like, this is a normal day for me,” said Tavarious Young, shopper.

Wolflin Square also reports traffic being up over 100 percent compared to this time last year.

“People are just fed up with being prisoned in their homes,” said Watkins.

Popular items on shopper’s lists include, shoes and women’s clothes.

Experts are predicting the surge in sales will persist into the Summer.

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