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Pandemic-era fears over the death of the department store were largely overblown, at least according to a new analysis from Placer.ai. Kohl’s and Dillard’s posted traffic declines of just 8.3% and 3.5% respectively in May 2021 when compared to 2019 numbers, while Macy’s and Nordstrom showed declines of 16.8% and 14.3%, dramatically narrowing the visit gap the brands experienced during the throes of COVID-19.

“While the sector has certainly experienced its fair share of challenges, the overarching narrative of doom and gloom seems to miss out on the lingering strength and potential of leading players,” the firm’s Ethan Chernofsky says. In fact, Nordstrom and Macy’soften held up as examples of the challenges facing the department store sectorhad their strongest months in May since the onset of the pandemic’s impact on retail. 

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