Holiday decorations can have a significant impact on retail spending activity. According to a new report from CBRE, West Coast malls spend an average of $0.27 per square foot on holiday decorations, and Southern California retail owners spent $15.2 million on holiday decorations and events beyond Santa photo centers. These events include tree-lighting events, carolers, simulated sleigh rides, pet photos, crafts, free food and drink, AR scavenger hunts, artificial snow and skating rinks. While the investment sounds significant, it has proven to have a big impact on retail sales volumes.

“In years past, foot traffic at malls would diminish right after the Black Friday rush and then pick up again during the last week before Christmas,” Daniel Hunker, research analyst at CBRE, tells “This year, malls have been reporting steady activity post Black Friday and the sentiment among mall owners is that investing time, money, and creativity into turning these massive centers into experiential destinations can keep revenue flowing throughout the entire month of December.”

It isn’t surprising to hear the holiday decorations have such a big impact on retail spending, considering the gravitation toward more experiential retail in general. Shoppers go to malls for a holiday experience. “We are definitely seeing landlords putting more effort into bringing experiential retail along with seasonal decorations into their malls,” adds Hunker. “Putting up decorations and playing Christmas tunes may put shoppers in a festive mood, but it does very little to engage them. Mall owners are starting to see that coming to a mall needs to feel more like an event instead of just another stop to buy presents. Valet, concierge services, and personal assistants take a lot of stress off the consumers’ mind, while events such as indoor skating rinks, live music, and fake snow are a great way to keep excitable kids entertained.”

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Kelsi Maree Borland

Kelsi Maree Borland is a freelance journalist and magazine writer based in Los Angeles, California. For more than 5 years, she has extensively reported on the commercial real estate industry, covering major deals across all commercial asset classes, investment strategy and capital markets trends, market commentary, economic trends and new technologies disrupting and revolutionizing the industry. Her work appears daily on and regularly in Real Estate Forum Magazine. As a magazine writer, she covers lifestyle and travel trends. Her work has appeared in Angeleno, Los Angeles Magazine, Travel and Leisure and more.

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