New General Manager Rick Tonzi did not have the reins of the South Shore Plaza last holiday season, but based on his observations and speaking with employees, he called the past month or so a "very busy" and successful season.
"We couldn't fit more people in the building," Tonzi said.
The Plaza does not yet have updated sales numbers, nor can it share that data, but Tonzi said the indications of strengh continued through Christmas and into the following week, when people used gift cards and made exchanges and returns.
"I'm very pleased with the season," Tonzi said. "We were able to keep the crowds moving, keep it clean."
This year, as part of an increased effort to provide concierge-type customer service, the Plaza offered assistance for shoppers bringing bags out to their cars, even employing a golf cart for the task. Tonzi and his employees also walked throughout the mall and handed out $5 Dunkin' Donuts gift cards.
"The plan was to take customer service to the next level," he said. "The ones we accommodated were very pleased… I thought it was a great strategy."
The shopping rush this year included a Black Friday that for the first time involved most of the mall's stores opening at midnight. The amount of shoppers exceeded Tonzi's expectations, and he said next year the Plaza will staff more detail police and security and improve the way customers enter the mall's nine different entrances.
"The stores that were very aggressive on promotions were absolutey jammed," Tonzi said. "The traffic in first two hours caught us off guard."
Leading up to Christmas, Macy's held a marathon 24-hour shopping event, which Tonzi said drew shoppers mostly around the midnight hour and then tapered off. The Plaza itself did not see any security issues surrounding the event, he said, though a Braintree police officer working a detail did arrest one shoplifter at Macy's.
To help combat shoplifting and other crimes, the Plaza plans to install security cameras at all of its entrances this spring
The mall will also add a slew of new stores and restaurants early this year. They include DSW Shoe Warehouse, which takes over the former Filene's Basement space this spring, a Vans store that will open in the next few months, an iSpa, and a renovated Victoria's Secret, which will break out its Pink store into a separate location at the Plaza.
New food offerings will include a Subway at the food court, a Crumbs Bake shop on the first floor and Rodizio Grill, a brazilian steakhouse that was delayed last year by financial issues but is expected to open at the end of February.
"There's a lot of activity," Tonzi said.