The holiday shopping rush is done, and despite the popularity of online shopping, at least one brick-and-mortar store says they may have discovered the secret to competing with the internet when it comes to retail sales.
New businesses coming into the area, as well as tax cuts, have made shoppers at Parkway Place Mall a little more confident, which means they're spending more.
But officials tell WAAY 31 the biggest impact on sales at the mall comes from the local retailers that have joined the Parkway Place team.
“I like the atmosphere. I love the people. They’re very friendly," said Inge Zanaty.
Zanaty is a loyal shopper at Parkway Place Mall in Huntsville, and she says she continues to come back for the people.
“They’re like family," she says.
And Zanaty isn’t the only one who feels that way about the mall.
“It just feels like home. Like it would be a home environment," Lacrissa Murphy added.
Murphy says one of the things that makes the mall feel like home are the local retailers you don't find in most other malls.
“It gives us a better variety of more clothes, instead of everybody just going to the same store," Murphy said.
The same stores such as H&M, American Eagle, Forever 21, and The GAP.
And that’s why Parkway Place is planning to add more local retailers in 2018--like Leaf in Creek.
“We used to be at a stand-alone location and we moved here because of the traffic—the foot traffic—that the mall brings all year-round," said General Manager of Leaf in Creek, Andrea Parham.
Parham says being in the mall definitely has its perks.
“Getting that exposure of ‘Hey, I’ve never seen that store before, that looks cool, they have some neat stuff in the windows, so let’s go check it out.’ That really brings people in," Parham said.
Not only are more local stores being added to Parkway Place, but many of the existing stores are remodeling; and officials say that’s a good sign, and has a big impact on overall sales as well.
“That tells us that these retailers are confident in their shopping centers. They’re confident in their stores and they want to provide the best experience possible for shoppers," said Marketing Director for Parkway Place Mall, Molly Mitchell.
And Zanaty says they’re doing a great job of that so far.
“It’s just very customer-oriented," Zanaty says. "And that’s very important to us.”
According to the National Retail Federation, they were expecting holiday retail sales to be up 4% for 2017, but they were actually up 5.5%. And Parkway Place did even better, being up 6% in holiday sales--which, officials tell WAAY 31, is a huge chunk of their overall success, and they credit their local retailers.