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Shopping Crossroads: Holiday Shopping at Busy Intersections

Caroline Wu
Dec 16, 2023
Shopping Crossroads: Holiday Shopping at Busy Intersections

With less than two weeks before the kiddos are expecting their gifts from Santa under the tree, we took a look at some holiday shopping intersections that really give you a bang for your buck, at least as far as gas costs go.  Why bother driving around town when you can go to one location and have a variety of shopping options less than a stone’s throw away? 

We examine the Chicago suburbs of Vernon Hills that has a multitude of shopping centers to choose from.

Vernon Hills Map 12.14.23

Since the start of October, Mellody Farm generally saw the most visitors. It is an open-air shopping center with over 270K square feet of retail and 260 executive apartments. Anchors include Nordstrom Rack, Whole Foods, and REI. Next in traffic is Rivertree Court, which hosts T.J. Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, Best Buy, and Old NavyHawthorn Mall saw a huge spike in visitation the week of Nov 20th, and it’s no surprise as it includes traditional mall favorites such as JC Penney, Macy’s, H&M, Sephora, and Bath & Body Works. Townline Commons has a Walmart, Golf Galaxy, and Dick’s Warehouse Sale for the sports enthusiasts in the family. Hawthorn Hills Square includes a Dick’s Sporting Goods and Ulta, along with a variety of eateries to fuel your body for shopping marathons such as IHOP and McDonald’s

In examining year-over-year traffic, we see that Mellody Farm is seeing the highest increase in November whereas Rivertree Court saw an increase in October.

During the shopping period of Oct.-Dec. 2023, Hawthorn Mall shoppers are more likely to have a “shop 'til you drop” mentality as they display the highest median dwell time at 69 min.  There is also a cohort of these shoppers that show an outsize preference for dwell times exceeding 150 min, though that may be partially due to the presence of an AMC theater on the premises.

Looking at the captured market of these shopping centers, we see that those with the highest median household incomes (HHIs) are shopping Mellody Farm and Hawthorn Hills Square. All shoppers are well above the state of Illinois’ median HHI, based on Census 2021 data.

There is certainly a fair amount of cross-shopping between many of these malls, as we see from our Favorite Places analysis. For instance, at Mellody Farm, two of the adjacent shopping centers - Hawthorn Mall and Rivertree Court - are among the top 5 favorites.

The proximity of so many tenants is beneficial to shoppers for increasing efficiency.  On the same shopping journey of a Mellody Farm visit, many chose to go to the nearby Target or T.J. Maxx in advance or after shopping at adjacent centers.

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Caroline Wu

Director of Research,

Caroline brings expertise in retail, CRE, entertainment, media, CPG, and tourism, and specializes in synthesizing broad datasets into actionable recommendations for growth. She has worked as the US Director of Consumer Insights at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, VP of Retail Insights and Intelligence at Omnicom, and Senior Director at Kantar. Caroline holds an MA in Sociology from Stanford University and a BA in International Relations from Stanford University.

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