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Retail Leasing Guide
Shopping Center Definitions

Shopping center definitions

Shopping Center Definitions

More than:

  • 50,000 shopping centers in the U.S. and Canada
  • 500 shopping centers larger than 1 million SF
  • 6 billion SF of total leasable retail area
  • 200 million adults visit shopping centers monthly
  • $2.2 trillion in annual sales

Mall

  • A mall is typically an enclosed, climate-controlled walkway flanked by storefronts. On-site parking is usually structured or located around the perimeter.

Regional Center

  • Provides general merchandise, including a large percentage of apparel and a variety of services with several significant anchors.

Super-regional Center

  • Includes more anchors, a deeper selection of merchandise and draws from a larger population base than the regional mall. Parking may often be structured to accommodate the sheer size of the center.

Open-air Center

  • An attached row of stores or service outlets managed as a unit, with on-site parking usually located in front of the stores. Common areas are not enclosed. These had traditionally been called “strip centers” due to their linear layout, but now open-air centers come in all configurations and are sometimes connected by open canopies. 

Neighbourhood Center

  • Designed to provide convenience shopping for the day-to-day needs of consumers in the immediate area. Roughly half of these centers are anchored by a supermarket and about a third by drugstores.

Community Center

  • This typically offers a wider range of apparel and other soft goods than a neighborhood center. Common anchors include supermarkets, super drugstores and discount department stores. Tenants sometimes include value-oriented, big-box, category-dominant retailers who sell apparel, home improvement and furnishings, toys, electronics and sporting goods. 

Power Center

  • This is dominated by several large anchors, including discount department stores, off-price stores, warehouse clubs or “category killers”—stores that offer a vast selection of related merchandise categories at competitive prices. Some of this center’s anchors may be unconnected to other buildings, and there are usually only a minimal amount of small specialty tenants.

Theme/Festival Center

  • These typically have a unifying theme in architectural design and merchandise. Entertainment is a common element in such centers, and they are usually anchored by restaurants and entertainment facilities. These centers often target tourists.

Outlet Center

  • This center includes manufacturers’ and retailers’ outlet stores selling brand-name goods at a discount. These are typically not anchored, but certain brand-name stores may serve as “magnet” tenants.

Lifestyle Center

  • Most often located in affluent neighborhoods, this caters to the “lifestyle” needs of consumers in its trading area. It includes upscale national chain specialty stores and serves a role as a multi-purpose leisure-time destination. Designs include amenities such as fountains and street furniture. 

Hybrid Center

  • A hybrid center combines elements from two or more of the main shopping center types. Examples include value-oriented mega-malls, power-lifestyle centers and entertainment-retail centers. 

Mixed-Use Development

  • Retail comprises one of at least three revenue-producing uses, such as entertainment, office, hotel, residential, recreation, sports and cultural venues. A mixed-use development is not exclusively a shopping center, but it often includes a strong retail component.

Shopping Center

  • A group of retail and other commercial establishments that is planned, developed, owned and managed as a single property.

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