Shopping in a COVID-19 Hot Spot: Los Angeles


WWD | January 22, 2021


If you were to wake up today from a yearlong sleep, get up, and decide to go out and do some shopping in Los Angeles, it would probably take a minute to catch on that something is different.


Given the statistics around the virus in L.A., one of the country’s most densely populated cities and the one with the highest case-counts in the country for many weeks now. Los Angeles County is recording around 10,000 new confirmed cases of the virus every day.


Although retail foot traffic has been affected by the pandemic, it’s faring much better than most other sectors of the consumer economy, having been allowed to remain open since May. Retail foot traffic nationally is down about one-third compared to a year ago, according to data from Zenreach.


The Melrose Trading Post, a flea market that is a magnet for L.A. hipsters looking for vintage jeans and crystals, was as busy as ever. In Beverly Hills, there was a line of at least 20 people waiting to get inside the Louis Vuitton store on Rodeo Drive. About 10 people stood waiting to be allowed entry to Gucci. A lone woman was waiting patiently to be let into Goyard, which keeps its door locked and is operating on a one-customer-at-a-time basis. Groups of tourists were wandering the sidewalks in the famed shopping area.


As for why they were shopping in-person instead of online, the consensus among those waiting in line at Louis Vuitton seemed to be that, when one is looking to spend thousands of dollars, one wants the service that comes along with that expenditure. And not to have to wait to receive such expensive items.


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