Have you noticed some upscale changes to your local mall? Chances are, the answer is yes. Malls across the Garden State have been, and are, going through major renovations to create a more welcoming feel for customers.

Despite the struggling economy, it seems New Jersey malls have found all the answers to keep customers in the building and keep the business flowing, from Wi-Fi capability to aesthetic lighting to more lounge-type seating.

John Holub, President of the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association, said the changes are necessary and right on time, as online shopping grows in popularity.

“I think to entice shoppers into a brick-and-mortar store, you really want to enhance the shopping experience,” Holub said.

He continued, “A greater emphasis is being placed on aesthetics and trying to create an atmosphere and an experience for the shopper.”

Holub rejected a theory that the upscale changes could actually turn some customers away.

“If these changes are being made, it’s obviously something that customers are asking for,” he explained.

Malls have been a popular destination in New Jersey for years. Holub said New Jersey “has, pretty much, perfected the mall.”

Sales and trafficking numbers are not shared by regional mall owners, but Holub said retailers have seen modest gains over the more recent months.

“While I think we’re not completely out of the woods, there are a lot of encouraging signs that the economy is slowly but surely improving,” Holub said.