Shopping Mall

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A shopping mall, shopping center, or shopping center is a building or multiple buildings consisting of a complex of shops representing leading merchandisers, with interconnecting walkways enabling visitors to easily walk from unit to unit and a convenient parking area, a modern version of the traditional marketplace.

Modern car-friendly strip malls developed since the 1920s, and shopping malls corresponding to the rise of suburban living in the United States after World War II have been the subject of the same criticisms leveled against suburbanisation and urban sprawl in general.

Read the Allure of Shopping Malls on the Apparel Search fashion blog.

Regional differences

In most of the world the term shopping centre is used, especially in Europe and Australasia; however shopping mall is also used, predominantly in North America.  Shopping precinct and shopping arcade are also used.In North America, the term shopping mall is usually applied to enclosed retail structures (and may be abbreviated to simply mall) while shopping center usually refers to open-air retail complexes, both usually have large parking lots, face major traffic arterials and few pedestrian connections to surrounding neighborhoods.

Malls in Ireland, pronounced "maills", are very small shopping centres placed in the centre of town. They average about twenty years in age, with a mix of local shops and chain stores. These malls do not have shops found in the high street or modern shopping centers.

Shopping centres in the United Kingdom can be referred to as "shopping centres", "shopping precincts", or "town centres".

In Hong Kong, the term "shopping centre" is the most frequently used, and the name of a shopping centre in Hong Kong usually contains the word "centre" or "plaza".


Isfahan's Grand Bazaar, which is largely covered, dates from the 10th century A.D. The 10 kilometer long covered Tehran's Grand Bazaar also has a long history. The Grand Bazaar of Istanbul was built in the 15th century and is still one of the largest covered markets in the world, with more than 58 streets and 4000 shops.

Gostiny Dvor in Saint Petersburg, which opened in 1785, may be regarded as one of the first purposely-built shopping malls, as it consisted of more than 100 shops covering an area of over 53,000 m2 (570,000 sq ft).

The Oxford Covered Market in Oxford, England opened in 1774 and still runs today.

The Burlington Arcade in London was opened in 1819. The Arcade in Providence, Rhode Island introduced the concept to the United States in 1828, making it the oldest mall in America.  The Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, Italy followed in the 1860s and is closer to large modern malls in spaciousness. Other large cities created arcades and shopping centers in the late 19th century and early 20th century, including the Cleveland Arcade and Moscow's GUM in 1890. Early shopping centers designed for the automobile include Market Square, Lake Forest, Illinois (1916) and Country Club Plaza, Kansas City, Missouri (1924).

An early indoor mall in the United States was the Lake View Store at Morgan Park, Duluth, Minnesota, which was built in 1915 and held its grand opening on July 20, 1916. The architect was Dean and Dean from Chicago and the building contractor was George H. Lounsberry from Duluth. The building is two-stories with a full basement and shops were originally located on all three levels. All of the stores were located within the interior of the mall with some shops being accessible from both inside and out.

In the mid-20th century, with the rise of the suburb and automobile culture in the United States, a new style of shopping centre was created away from downtown.

Early shopping centers

An early shopping center in the United States was Country Club Plaza, which opened in 1924 in Kansas City, Missouri. Other important shopping centers built in the 1920s and early 1930s are the Highland Park Village in Dallas, Texas; River Oaks in Houston, Texas; and Park and Shop in Washington, DC.

However, the concept of the fully-enclosed shopping mall did not appear until the 1950s. The idea was pioneered by the Austrian-born architect and American immigrant Victor Gruen. This new generation, that were eventually called malls, included Northgate Mall, built in north Seattle, Washington, USA in 1950, Victor Gruen's Northland Shopping Center built near Detroit, Michigan, USA in 1954, and Gulfgate Mall in Houston were all originally open-air pedestrian shopping centers that later were enclosed as malls. The first enclosed, postwar shopping center (or mall) was the Gruen-designed Southdale Center, which opened in the Twin Cities suburb of Edina, Minnesota, USA in 1956. These malls moved retailing away from the dense, commercial downtown into the largely residential suburbs. This formula (enclosed space with stores attached, away from downtown, and accessible only by automobile) became a popular way to build retail across the world. In the UK, Chrisp Street Market was the first pedestrian shopping area built with a road at the shop fronts.

Ala Moana Center in Honolulu, Hawaii is currently the largest open-air mall in the world and was the largest mall in the states when it was built in 1957. It is currently the sixteenth largest in the country. The Bergen Mall, the oldest enclosed mall in New Jersey, opened in Paramus on November 14, 1957, with Dave Garroway, host of The Today Show, serving as master of ceremonies. The mall, located just outside New York City, was planned in 1955 by Allied Stores to have 100 stores and 8,600 parking spaces in a 1,500,000 sq ft (139,000 m2) mall that would include a 300,000 sq. ft. (28,000 m2) Stern's store and two other 150,000 sq ft (14,000 m2) department stores as part of the design. Allied's chairman B. Earl Puckett confidently announced the Bergen Mall as the largest of ten proposed centers, stating that there were 25 cities that could support such centers and that no more than 50 malls of this type would ever be built nationwide.

Largest shopping malls

Berjaya Times Square in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, is advertised at 700,000 m2 (7,500,000 sq. ft.). Beijing's (Peking) Golden Resources Mall, which opened in October 2004, is the world's second largest mall, at 600,000 m2 (6,500,000 sq. ft.). SM City North EDSA in the Philippines, which opened in November 1985, is the world's third largest at 460,000 m2 (5,000,000 sq. ft.) of gross floor area, and SM Mall of Asia in the Philippines, opened in May 2006, is the world's fourth largest at 386,000 m2 (4,150,000 sq. ft.) of gross floor area.

Previously, the title of the largest enclosed shopping mall was with the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada from 1986-2004. It is now the fifth largest mall. Two of the largest malls are in China, South China Mall and Jin Yuan. Dubai Mall is the largest mall in Middle East and Europe, currently ranked seventh in the world.

One of the world's largest shopping complexes in one location is the two-mall agglomeration of the Plaza at King of Prussia and the Court at King of Prussia in the Philadelphia suburb of King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, United States. The King of Prussia mall has the most shopping per square foot in the U.S.

The most visited shopping mall in the world and largest mall in the United States is the Mall of America, located near the Twin Cities in Bloomington, Minnesota. However, several Asian malls are advertised as having more visitors, including Mal Taman Anggrek, Kelapa Gading Mall and Megamal Pluit, all in Jakarta-Indonesia, Berjaya Times Square in Malaysia and SM Megamall in the Philippines. The largest mall in South Asia, and twelfth largest in the world, is Bashundhara City in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

British usage

Mall can refer to either a shopping mall a place where a collection of shops all adjoin a pedestrian area or an exclusively pedestrian street that allows shoppers to walk without interference from vehicle traffic. Mall is generally used in North America to refer to a large shopping area usually composed of a single building which contains multiple shops, usually "anchored" by one or more department stores surrounded by a parking lot, while the term arcade is more often used, especially in Britain, to refer to a narrow pedestrian-only street, often covered or between closely spaced buildings (see town centre). A larger, often partly covered and exclusively pedestrian shopping area is in Britain also termed a shopping centre, shopping precinct, or pedestrian precinct.

The majority of British shopping centers are in town centers, usually inserted into old shopping districts and surrounded by subsidiary open air shopping streets. A number of large out-of-town "regional malls" such as Meadowhall, Sheffield and the Trafford Centre, Manchester were built in the 1980s and 1990s, but planning regulations prohibit the construction of any more. Out-of-town shopping developments in the UK are now focused on retail parks, which consist of groups of warehouse style shops with individual entrances from outdoors. Planning policy prioritizes the development of existing town centres, although with patchy success. The Metro Centre, in Gateshead (near Newcastle-upon-Tyne), is the largest shopping centre in Europe with over 330 shops, 50 restaurants and an 11 screen cinema, while the Westfield London is the largest inner-city shopping centre in Europe.

Classes of malls

In many cases, regional and super-regional malls exist as parts of large superstructures which often also include office space, residential space, amusement parks and so forth. This trend can be seen in the construction and design of many modern supermalls such as Cevahir Mall in Turkey. The International Council of Shopping Centers' 1999 definitions were not restricted to shopping centers in any particular country, but later editions were made specific to the U.S. with a separate set for Europe.

Regional malls

A regional mall is, per the International Council of Shopping Centers, in the United States, a shopping mall which is designed to service a larger area than a conventional shopping mall. As such, it is typically larger with 400,000 sq. ft. (37,000 m2) to 800,000 sq ft (74,000 m2) gross leasable area with at least two anchors and offers a wider selection of stores. Given their wider service area, these malls tend to have higher-end stores that need a larger area in order for their services to be profitable. Regional malls are also found as tourist attractions in vacation areas.

Super-regional malls

A super-regional mall is, per the International Council of Shopping Centers, in the U.S. a shopping mall with over 800,000 sq ft (74,000 m2) of gross leasable area, and which serves as the dominant shopping venue for the region in which it is located.

Outlet malls

Main article: Outlet mall

An outlet mall (or outlet centre) is a type of shopping mall in which manufacturers sell their products directly to the public through their own stores. Other stores in outlet malls are operated by retailers selling returned goods and discontinued products, often at heavily reduced prices. Outlet stores were found as early as 1936, but the first multi-store outlet mall, Vanity Fair, located in Reading, PA didn't open until 1974. Belz Enterprises opened the first enclosed factory outlet mall in 1979, in Lakeland, TN, a suburb of Memphis.


Food court

A common feature of shopping malls is a food court: this typically consists of a number of fast food vendors of various types, surrounding a shared seating area.

Department stores

When the shopping mall format was developed by Victor Gruen in the mid-1950s, signing larger department stores was necessary for the financial stability of the projects, and to draw retail traffic that would result in visits to the smaller stores in the mall as well. These larger stores are termed anchor store or draw tenant. Anchors generally have their rents heavily discounted, and may even receive cash inducements from the mall to remain open. In physical configuration, anchor stores are normally located as far from each other as possible to maximize the amount of traffic from one anchor to another.

Dead malls

In the U.S, as more modern facilities are built, many early malls have become abandoned, due to decreased traffic and tenancy. These "dead malls" have failed to attract new business and often sit unused for many years until restored or demolished. Interesting examples of architecture and urban design, these structures often attract people who explore and photograph them. This phenomenon of dead and dying malls is examined in detail by the website, which hosts many such photographs, as well as historical accounts. Until the mid-1990s, the trend was to build enclosed malls and to renovate older outdoor malls into enclosed ones. Such malls had advantages such as temperature control. Since then, the trend has turned and it is once again fashionable to build open-air malls. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, only one enclosed mall has been built in the United States since 2006.

Some enclosed malls have been opened up, such as the Sherman Oaks Galleria. In addition, some malls, when replacing an empty anchor location, have replaced the former anchor store building with the more modern outdoor design, leaving the remainder of the indoor mall intact, such as the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance, California.

New trends

In parts of Canada, it is now rare for new shopping malls to be built. The Vaughan Mills Shopping Centre, opened in 2004, is the only mall built in Canada since 1992. Outdoor outlet malls or big box shopping areas known as power centres are now favored, although the traditional enclosed shopping mall is still in demand by those seeking weather-protected, all-under-one-roof shopping. In addition the enclosed interconnections between downtown multi story shopping malls continue to grow in the Underground city of Montreal (32 kilometers of passageway), the PATH system of Toronto (27 km (17 mi) of passageway) and the Plus15 system of Calgary (16 km (9.9 mi) of overhead passageway).

Vertical malls

High land prices in populous cities have led to the concept of the "vertical mall," in which space allocated to retail is configured over a number of stories accessible by escalators linking the different levels of the mall. The challenge of this type of mall is to overcome the natural tendency of shoppers to move horizontally and encourage shoppers to move upwards and downwards.  The concept of a vertical mall was originally conceived in the late 1960s by the Mafco Company, former shopping center development division of Marshall Field & Co. The Water Tower Place skyscraper, Chicago, Illinois, was built in 1975 by Urban Retail Properties. It contains a hotel, luxury condominiums, and office space and sits atop a block-long base containing an eight-level atrium-style retail mall that fronts on the Magnificent Mile. Vertical malls are common in densely populated conurbations such as Hong Kong and Bangkok. Times Square in Hong Kong is a principal example.

Shopping property management firms

A shopping property management firm is a company that specializes in owning and managing shopping malls. Most shopping property management firms own at least 20 malls. Some firms use a similar naming scheme for most of their malls; for example, Mills Corporation puts "Mills" in most of their mall names and SM Prime Holdings of the Philippines puts "SM" in all of their malls, as well as anchor stores such as SM Department Store, SM Appliance Center, SM Hypermarket, SM Cinema, and SM Supermarket.

New towns

Manynew towns in the United Kingdom, such as Cumbernauld, Milton Keynes, Washington, Tyne and Wear, Newton Aycliffe and Telford, did not incorporate a traditional style town center but instead a shopping centre was developed. Unlike the shopping centers which were developing in established towns and cities, these also contained many civic functions and other community facilities such as libraries, pubs and community centers. As the towns grew, other facilities were usually developed around the centers, effectively enlarging the town centers.

Legal issues

One controversial aspect of malls has been their effective displacement of traditional main streets. Many consumers prefer malls, with their spacious parking garages, entertaining environments, and private security guards, over downtown, which often suffers from limited parking, poor maintenance, and limited police coverage.

In response, a few jurisdictions, notably California, have expanded the right of freedom of speech to ensure that speakers will be able to reach consumers who prefer to shop, eat, and socialize within the boundaries of privately owned malls.  See Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins.

Types of shopping facilities

Big-box store

Strip mall



Main street

High street

Town square

Power centre

Lifestyle center

Outlet mall

Shop For Clothing


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The above article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (  7/6/09  Modified by Apparel Search.

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