The composition of retail centres: the key to competitive advantage?

2017-06-07T06:12:36Z (GMT) by Reimers, Vaughan Clulow, Val
In many markets, the unplanned retail centre (also known as the downtown, town, city or strip centre) continues to lose market share to the planned shopping centre. Rejuvenation strategies focusing on infrastructure and aesthetic design, recreational appeals, promotion and a managed approach have met with mixed success. Many of these strategies revolve around improving how the unplanned centre offers its merchandise. A more direct alternative is the actual composition of businesses in a retail centre, and what they offer shoppers. There are four attributes of a retail centre's composition that determine its appeal; the number of merchants, the merchandise-mix, its major attractors, and its ability to provide for one stop shopping. This study provides statistical insight into the composition offered by a sample of 38 planned centres and 33 unplanned centres. Across all four attributes the planned centre was found to enjoy a significant advantage. These findings pose a major problem for the unplanned centre. Its inability to provide for one stop shopping offers little appeal to convenience-oriented shoppers. Similarly, its lack of major attractors is unlikely to draw the other important shopper typology, the leisure-oriented consumer.

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