Shoppers go back to stores, but retailers face challenges

NEW YORK (AP) — Americans are going back to one of their favorite pastimes: store shopping. With vaccinations rolling out and shoppers freer to go out maskless, retailers from Walmart to Macy’s are seeing an eager return to their stores after months of  watching their customers focus on online buying during the pandemic. The return offers a big relief to retailers for a variety of reasons. Making purchases at  the store can be more profitable than online buying because of shipping costs. Shoppers return less than when buying online.  And store customers tend to do more impulse buying than online. Still, retailers, particularly mall-based stores and other specialty stores,   face plenty of  challenges to keep shoppers coming back.