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Tampa Bay Times: Are shoppers starting to pull back as Florida’s cost of living rises?

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There is also some relief coming for consumers, retail experts noted. Gas prices have fallen and some big-box stores have overstocked their inventories to avoid shortages, resulting in more discounts and sales.

“There’s a disconnect right now that we’re all noticing,” said Brian Bern, managing director of retail tenant representation at Tampa-based brokerage Franklin Street. “Inflation is crazy high, yet consumers continue to shop.”

There’s more shoppers going to stores, likely because there’s more residents in Tampa Bay, Bern said. Some local shopping centers are continuing to see growth while others are pulling back. Tampa’s International Plaza saw 8.26% fewer people in the mall during July compared to last year, according to foot traffic data from Franklin Street. Westfield Brandon’s foot traffic was down 7%, while St. Petersburg’s Tyrone Square was up 3% and Clearwater’s Countryside Mall was up 7.1%.

Read the full article from Tampa Bay Times.

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