Retail stores in part of Business District and Shopping Center

A Central Business District (CBD) is the main center of commerce and trade in the city. It is characterized by peak land rates and intense developments. The shopping area within this district is usually different from the main office area. It has good accessibility in terms of transport from all the parts of the city. An example of a Central Business District in Mumbai would be Colaba or Nariman Point. In New Delhi, the same would apply to Connaught Place, which for long has been the center of business and commerce.

Being a part of a CBD has its plus points as well as minus points. While the retailer may not have to spend heavily on drawing customers, he will have to face situations where rents are fairly high and facilities like parking for the customers in cumbersome.

The Secondary Business District (SBD) is one, which has evolved over a period of time, with the spread of population within the city. A city my have more than one SBD. An SBD is characterized by a good mix of retailers, the stores are nearly smaller than those in the CBD and public transportation is adequate. A Neighborhood Business District on the other hand, is an unplanned shopping area that has developed to serve the needs of the neighborhood. It is characterized by the presence of stores like a supermarket, stationery stores, medical shops etc.

A shopping center has been defined by the international Council of Shopping Centers as a group of retail and other commercial establishments that is planned, developed, owned and managed as a single properly. The availability of parking is an important feature of a shopping center.

The basic configuration of a shopping center is a mall and a strip center. A mall is typically enclosed and climate controlled. A walkway is provided between two facing strips of stores. A strip center on the other hand, is a row of stores with parking provided in front of the stores.

The maturity of the retail markets in the west have brought into existence a number of shopping center formats. The International Council of Shopping Centers has defined eight basic types of shopping centers. They are:
1) Neighborhood Shopping Center
2) Community Shopping Center
3) Regional Shopping Center
4) Super Regional Center
5) Fashion / Specialty Center
6) Power Center
7) Theme Center
8) Outlet Center

It is meant to be a guideline for understanding the major differences between the basic types of shopping centers. Several of the categories such as size, number of anchors and trade area, should be interpreted as typical for each center type. They are not meant to encompass the operating characteristics of every center. As a general rule, the main determinants in classifying a center are its merchandise orientation (types of goods / services sold) and its size.

These definitions are not watertight compartments and various combinations are possible. Secondly, one needs to remember that the definitions have been created keeping the western and largely American market in mind, where space and travel time are not constraint. Both space and travel time are a constraint in India and the size of the shopping centers that come up in India would vary in terms of size and the tenant mix to suit the needs of the Indian consumer.

Developments in retail formats and patterns of shopping have always been influenced by the mobility and the lifestyles of the consumer. Originally, shopping places were within walking distance from where people lived. The Town square or Plaza was the focal point for street market activity, where the merchants would come to sell their wares and farmers would market their harvest. Food items and daily staples dominated the merchandise mix. In conjunction with this market, the church, government hall, schools, restaurants, sidewalk cafes and pubs would line the edges of the square.

These street markets became the first formalized shopping venues. These streets were not temporary, but more permanent retail locations emanating from the Town Place. This again becomes more convenient with newer transport modes like trucks and trolleys to take the merchandise across. The Champ Elysees in Paris, Times Square in London etc are common examples.