Footfall is 70 per cent of normal, and rising, bosses say, partly due to increased awareness of the importance of supporting local firms.
The Moor was bustling on the last Friday before Christmas, a notable increase on earlier in the week.
But it was not all good news.
Debenhams was advertising a closing down sale.
A spokesman for administrators of the 124-store chain said 150 staff worked at branches on The Moor and Meadowhall. The wind-down of the business was set to complete in the first quarter of next year if no buyer was found, he added.
Dorothy Perkins and Burton on The Moor also had a sale on. It faces an uncertain future as part of the Arcadia Group, which has five other shops in the city, and is in administration.
Gap and a newly-opened flagship H&M on The Moor also had big pre-Christmas discounts.
The Moor Market had a successful promotion last weekend which saw it give away 1,600 £5 vouchers, driving numbers to just shy of its 8,000 target.
And despite its toughest year, the centre has only lost two stalls - and gained four in 2020 - including a Hungarian deli run by Zoltan Keresztes selling hampers, chocolates, meat and booze.
The bounce back comes despite new figures which show online shopping is now 31 per cent of retail in the UK, up 75 per cent on this time last year.
Diane Jarvis, manager at Sheffield Business Improvement District, said fresh air, freedom from one-way systems and being able to remove masks on exiting shops gave the city centre ‘clear advantages’ over indoor shopping malls.
She added: “People complain about the city centre, but it’s the safest place. Footfall shot back up after the second lockdown and is still rising. People are very willing come out and support local businesses.”
Christine Bastock was out for the first time in six months.
She said: “My husband shops online a lot but I prefer the shops and I’ve come to meet friends. Let’s get it over and done with now, I want the vaccine so I can go to the pub.”