A data analysis released this week by Placer.ai shows how shopper visits to malls have ebbed and flowed amid the Covid pandemic. The research firm, which uses cellphone data to track consumer behavior, studied foot traffic at more than two dozen “top-tier” malls across the country over the span of the year. Visits to the malls tracked, which Placer.ai declined to name, peaked before the pandemic, in February, climbing 10.7% from 2019 levels. In March — when retail stores and malls began to shut down to try to slow the spread of Covid — visits tumbled 59.5%. That was followed by a 95.9% year-over-year decline, marking a bottom, in April. During the summer months, as Americans felt a bit more comfortable getting out of the house, visits to these malls steadily rebounded, month by month into the fall. But a resurgence in Covid cases hit traffic in November and led some to believe that U.S. malls would be especially bleak in the final weeks of the year. A surprise came in December, however, as visits rebounded again. Some procrastinators had no choice but to head to the mall in the final days leading up to Christmas to snag last-minute gifts. The uptick shows, for some consumers, malls still serve a role as a convenient shopping option. Click to read more at www.cnbc.com.