This website uses cookies to remember site preferences. By using this website you consent to the use of cookies.

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


  • 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.
Download the full Retail Leasing Guide

Retail Leasing Guide

This retail leasing guide has been assembled to reflect Colliers International's knowledge of the retail leasing process....
Featured Retail Research