CRANTSON, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Business experts that spoke to 12 News say shoppers aren’t heading back to malls for a pair of pants or shoes, but for deeper reasons.

Johnson & Wales Associate Marketing Professor Diane McCrohan said she isn’t surprised by the increase in retail shopping over the past couple of months, because shopping during a pandemic has become a feel-good activity.

She said even her mother, who’s 80 years old, went shopping as soon as she was allowed to again because “she’s determined to still have social contact and she enjoys it.”

University of Rhode Island (URI) Associate Marketing Professor Christy Ashley echoed McCrohan’s sentiment.

“There is a psychological component to it now and a social component to it,” Ashley said. “Going shopping at one of your favorite brands can be a way to get that normalcy back.”

Joe Koechel, manager of Garden City Center in Cranston, said they’ve seen a recent uptick in sales.

This could be because there are several home goods and improvement stores located there, which McCrohan said are benefitting the most right now.

“The one real bright spot for retail right now is in the home area,” she said. “TJ Maxx, Lowe’s, Home Depot are having big increases, as are Target and Walmart.”