Other Work Areas of Shopping Centres

Other work in the area of shopping center preferences has involved development of model to determine the retail trade area for a shopping center. The model estimates the probability that shoppers in homogeneous geographical segments (such as census tracts or neighborhood) will visit a particular shopping center for a particular type of product purchase. The two fundamental variables associated with probability of patronage are square feet of floor space in the shopping center and travel time to the center. These variables substitute for population and distance used in the intercity model.

Although this shopping center model achieves higher level of sophistication than the intercity model, it nevertheless fails to adequately incorporate variables that may influence consumer store preferences. Travel time and shopping center size, although important are not the only factors that influence store choice. However, newer models have refinements that offer substantial increases in performance. One researcher has developed a model of patronage behavior which incorporates key concepts from geography social psychology and economies and it appears to offer a more complete explanation of shopping behavior. Other models add such factors as shopping center descriptors (including center design and operating hours) and transportation conditions (such as cost, performances and safety). In addition shopping center attractiveness has been studied on the basis of expected population changes expected store characteristics and the evolving transportation networks.

Ultimately marketers must develop theories to explain how consumers make choices between the many alternatives types of shopping options available to them. For example, why would a consumers select a mall over options such as the central business district a strip shopping center a free standing store, or direct marketing options (such as catalog) Further if several malls are available why does the consumer select the particular on chosen? Clearly there are many important questions still to be answered.

There have been some shifting patterns of consumer behavior recently with regard to shopping centre patronage. Of the 36,650 shopping centers in the United States 5000 are regional malls with over 350,000 square feet of space and at least one anchor store usually a department store. However, this once novel and pleasant experience for many shoppers has become a hassle. Too much time spent finding a parking space and trekking from one end of the mall to another. Consequently, with increasing demands on their time, consumers are choosing the speed and convenience offered by strip centers or malls located along main streets instead of the elegance and variety offered by regional malls. Strip malls are generally occupied by small, independent retailers but big name (frequently discount or off price) retailers such as Blockbuster video, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Circuit City, Pier One, Toys R Us Marshalls and The Gap often serve as anchors. Another major trend is factory outlet malls were makers of brand number apparel luggage house wares etc. and some upscale retailers sell their surplus goods.

Table prevents profiles of shopper characteristics for strip and regional malls. Those who are traditional strip mall shoppers are married full time home makers with children living at home. Between 1982 and 190 the number of stores visited by the average mall shopper decreased from 3.6 to 2.6 the average time spent shopping declined from 90 minutes to 70 minutes and the percentage of a shoppers who visited a center with as specific purchase in mind increased from 20 percent to 33 percent.

Adults who frequently shop at malls dropped from 42 percent in 1987 to 36 percent in 1991, while the number who never shops at malls rose from 12 percent to 18 percent. Eighty three percent of mall shoppers go because malls are a comfortable way to visit more than one store. Over three out of our visit malls with particular stores in mind. However only 50 percent go because, they are pleasant places to shop. About one half of women claim to enjoy mall shopping while only about on third of men enjoy going.