press release

Center City Philadelphia Retail 2023

JoAnn Loviglio
T 215.440.5546


New Report Tracks Continued Increases of Downtown Businesses and Pedestrians

PHILADELPHIA (November 20, 2023) – Center City's retail occupancy rates, pedestrian volumes, retail sales and jobs are continuing to rise and are approaching levels last seen in 2019, according to Center City Retail Report, November 2023, released today by the Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation (CCD/CPDC).

“As cities across the United States are recovering at different rates from the events of the past three years, Philadelphia continues to be at the forefront of recovery with rising indicators in nearly all sectors,” CCD President Paul R. Levy said. “Center City Philadelphia ranks fourth in the average daily number of pedestrians downtown — behind only New York, Chicago and Boston — and has seen a sustained increase in pedestrian volumes, workers of all kinds, residents, and retail occupancy.”

By combining results of Center City District (CCD) on-street surveys, data on pedestrian volumes, conversations with brokers and retailers, and data from a variety of city, state and federal sources, the comprehensive 19-page report includes the following key findings:

  • In October, daily foot traffic in core Center City reached 83% of 2019 levels, while residents reached 126% and non-resident workers reached 68% of the level measured in April 2020.
  • The return of major downtown employers like Comcast to an in-person workforce four days a week has produced a steady increase in foot traffic within the West Market office district, with total 2023 pedestrian volumes through October up over 18% from 2022.
  • 84.5% of storefronts within the Center City District are open for business as of October, approaching the 89% peak occupancy levels of 2019 and up from a low of 54.5% in June 2020.
  • 2023 is on pace to be the third consecutive year of positive net openings in Center City: 80 new retail, restaurants and service-oriented businesses have opened this year, with at least 28 more coming soon.
  • Digital-native brands opening brick-and-mortar stores, along with new grocery stores, are hallmarks of Center City retail expansion in recent years and are clear indicators of a strong and growing residential downtown population.

“Center City’s dense, diverse and walkable land-use patterns, appealing blend of historic and modern architecture, and unparalleled public transit access have made it one of the most resilient and sustainable downtowns in North America,” CPDC Executive Director Prema Katari Gupta said. “With an incoming new mayor in Philadelphia, optimism is strong that issues pertaining to public safety will be top of mind for the new administration.”

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The Center City District, a private-sector organization dedicated to making Center City Philadelphia clean, safe and attractive, is committed to maintaining Center City’s competitive edge as a regional employment center, a quality place to live, and a premier regional destination for dining, shopping and cultural attractions. Find us at and on Facebook, X and Instagram.