The Summer Season: As Tourism Recovers, Travelers Hit the Malls

America is in the middle of its annual summer migrations, and the good news for retailers is that many tourists have their credit cards out.

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More minis, denim and monogrammed tops are selling this summer. Other hot items are cropped drawstring pants and tube tops by Susanna Monaco for $64 to $92, pieces in a retro lattice print by Trina Turk for $168 to $202 and cotton pencil skirts with grosgrain-ribbon belts by Ruth for $127.

Marissa Collections, a designer store, has strong sales of Cynthia Rose’s jackets reworked in vintage Chanel fabrics at $1,000 to $1,700, and Miu Miu’s cotton minis with leather trim and toggles averaging $300. The store was already focused on fall clothing in July and ships merchandise to clients who summer elsewhere.

“Business has been healthy despite the economy. Being a resort mecca, Naples is safer,” said manager and buyer Julie Hussey, adding sales are on a par with last summer.


Bloomington, Minn.

A tough economy isn’t stopping shopping at Mall of America, where overall traffic is up against last summer. However, international tourism has fallen this summer to 4 to 5 percent of total traffic, compared with 6 percent prior to Sept. 11, 2001, owing to fears of terrorism, the Iraq war and the SARS threat earlier in the season. The greatest number of international shoppers come from the U.K., followed by Canada, Sweden, France, Ireland and Japan.

Still, for every 10 visitors to Mall of America, four are tourists, making the sprawling 4.2 million-square-foot megamall one of the nation’s top tourist attractions.

Mall of America attracts nearly 43 million visitors yearly. With 520 stores, the mall attracts more visitors each year than Disney World, the Grand Canyon and Elvis Presley’s Graceland combined.

A mall spokeswoman said shoppers seem to be in an upbeat mood and are already purchasing lots of back-to-school apparel — there’s no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota.

Marketing tactics to bring traffic to Mall of America include “Shop ’Til You Drop” and “World Vacation” travel packages offered by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines and Northwest Airlines, among others. Mall of America is owned by Simon Property Group, Teacher’s Insurance & Annuity Association and Triple Five Corp.

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