press release

Center City Philadelphia Retail, November 2022

JoAnn Loviglio 215.440.5546

Center City District Report Tracks Continued Momentum of Downtown Retail and Restaurants

PHILADELPHIA (November 23, 2022) – A sustained process of recovery is continuing in Center City’s commercial core, with new businesses opening and existing retailers moving to new, often larger locations, according to the new Center City District/Central Philadelphia Development Corporation Center City Philadelphia Retail, November 2022.

“Center City retailers, restaurants, and commercial property owners have responded to a series of challenges in the last three years with creativity and resilience,” Levy said. “The restoration of conventions and tourism, the reopening of all cultural institutions, the return of shoppers from across the city and region, and the continuing growth of the downtown residential population have combined to drive two consecutive years of positive net openings of restaurants and retailers within the district.”

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 28-page report includes the following key findings:

  • In October 2022, the volume of visitors and shoppers reached 73% of the October 2019 level, while residents reached 119% and non-resident workers reached 50% of the level measured three years earlier.
  • Four key groups ‒ residents, visitors, workers and students ‒ in 2022 will generate an estimated $1.3 billion in retail and restaurant demand in core Center City and $2.3 billion in Greater Center City.
  • 80.5% of storefronts within the Center City District are open for business, up from 54.5% in June 2020 and approaching occupancy levels from fall 2019.
  • 2022 is on pace to be the second consecutive year of positive net openings in Center City: More than 175 new retail, restaurants and service-oriented businesses have opened in Center City since 2020, with at least 47 more coming soon.
  • Many national chain retailers closed stores across the country due to trends accelerated by the pandemic. While this contributed to vacancy in Center City, many of these spaces have been quickly backfilled by emergent digitally native brands.
  • In the third quarter of 2022, taxable retail sales in core Center City are at 88% of nominal 2019 levels, and bars and restaurants are at 87% of nominal 2019 levels.

“For two decades, significant improvements in the vitality and livability of Center City and the vibrancy of its retail and restaurant scene have been driven by a diverse tapestry of customers: office, education and health care workers, college students, city and regional residents, growing numbers of tourists and convention attendees and what is now the country’s third-largest downtown population,” Levy said. “While hybrid work may persist for some time and limit the recurring purchases of office workers, downtown Philadelphia’s growing residential population and returning visitors continue to generate robust demand.”

In The News

November 28, 2022 | Foot traffic near offices more than doubled since January, The Philadelphia Inquirer
November 27, 2022 | Center City District releases November 2022 retail report, Philly Voice
November 26, 2022 | Center City business district promotes unique and boutique holiday shopping experience, WHYY
November 25, 2022 | ‘It’s an experience, not a transaction’: Despite closures, Center City retail rebounds closer to pre-pandemic levels, Plan Philly
November 23, 2022 | Center City retail scene on the upswing, new report finds, Metro Philadelphia
November 23, 2022 | Positive signs in latest Center City retail report released, 6abc
November 23, 2022 | Only half of Center City office workers have returned, slowing recovery for restaurants and retailers, Philadelphia Business Journal


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, Instagram and Twitter.