Out-of-town shoppers head to London’s malls as a Christmas rush fails to materialize
LONDON, ONT -- With fears of a wide lockdown looming and Christmas approaching, you might have expected London’s malls to be overrun with customers.
But in 2020, it is just not the case.
In the early afternoon Sunday, finding a parking spot at the city’s two largest shopping malls was not difficult.
In fact, Cassidy Millyard managed to claim the first spot by a door at Masonville Mall, leaving her surprised.
Inside, it wasn’t much different.
Shopper Jimmy Webster arrived as doors opened and he expected crowds.
“I was really, really surprised how quiet it was in there. I thought we were going to be waiting in line but there’s not really any line-ups at all.”
Jeff Wilson, the general manager of London’s White Oaks Mall admits his facility is not seeing typical holiday numbers.
“It’s because people have shopped already, or they are staying at home or they’re using the curbside or pick-up in store. People are being cautious and that’s what they should be.”
Back at Masonville, shopper Gina Bryan wanted to get her Christmas list out of the way to prevent any more exposure to the public.
“Getting out while we still can. We are not hitting any malls after today.”
And parking lots are part of the reason.
As CTV news discovered, there are vehicles at both malls that appear to come from areas of the province already under lockdown.
Shoppers like Bryan have noticed plate covers telling the story.
“I’ve seen a few plates from outside areas.”
If London is added to the lockdown list Wilson says White Oaks Mall is prepared to adapt as it did in the spring.
But with Boxing Day sales potentially off the table, he admits retailers could struggle if they don’t modify their marketing strategies.
Most shoppers, including Ashley Webster, seem reluctantly ready to adapt to whatever choice the premier makes.
“I hope he doesn’t go into lockdown, but at the same time I understand why we should go into lockdown because the cases are rising and we are getting not any better I guess.”