Types of Shopping Centers

Knowing the types of shopping centers and the likely visitor experiences are helpful when deciding on the best shopping stop for your group. The following characteristics and definitions of 9 types of shopping centers from the International Association of Shopping Centers (ICSC) are useful guidelines when planning group shopping stops. Planners may anticipate a stay lasting 3+ hours at centers listed on TRIPinfo.

Note: TRIPinfo omits the Strip/Convenience category of shopping centers since these are not usually planned stops for group tours. Also, some centers may not precisely fit into one specific classification.

General-Purpose Centers
Typical GLA Range (Sq. Ft.)
Typical # of Tenants
Typical Type of Anchors
Neighborhood Center Convenience
30,000 - 125,000
5 - 20
Community Center General merchandise; convenience
125,000 - 400,000
15 - 40
Discount department store; supermarket; drug; home improvement; large specialty-discount; apparel
Regional Center General merchandise; fashion
400,000 - 800,000
40 - 80
Full-line department store; junior department store; mass merchant; discount department store; fashion apparel
Super-Regional Center Similar to regional center but has more variety and assortment
Full-line department store; junior department store; mass merchant; fashion apparel
Neighborhood Center: This center is designed to provide convenience shopping for the day-to-day needs of consumers in the immediate neighborhood. A neighborhood center is typically a straight-line strip with no enclosed walkway or mall area. Regional Center: This center sells a full variety of general merchandise, mostly apparel, in typically enclosed malls with inward facing stores that share a common walkway. Its main attractions are its anchors.
Community Center: A community center offers a wider variety of apparel and other goods than a neighborhood center. Configuration is a straight line, L- or U-shaped. Super-Regional Center: This center is similar to the regional center, but it is larger with more anchors and carries a deeper selection of merchandise. Super-regional centers draw from a larger population base. Typical configuration is enclosed with multilevels.

Specialized-Purpose Centers
Typical GLA Range (Sq. Ft.)
# of Anchors
Typical Type of Anchors
Lifestyle Upscale stores with dining & entertainment
150,000 - 500,000
0 - 2
Large format upscale specialty
Power Center Category-dominant anchors
250,000 - 600,000
3 or more
Category killers; home improvement; discount department store; warehouse club; off-price
Theme/Festival Center Leisure, tourist, retail and service-oriented offerings
80,000 - 250,000
Restaurants, entertainment
Outlet Center Manufacturers' and retailers' outlet stores selling brand-name goods at a discount
50,000 - 400,000
Manufacturers' and retailers' outlets
Fashion/Specialty Center: This center is composed of upscale national-chain specialty stores with dining & entertainment in an outdoor setting. They may not be anchored, but restaurants or entertainment provide the draw of anchors. A sophisticated design emphasizes the rich decor and landscaping. Theme/Festival Center: The centers appeal to tourists; restaurants and entertainment facilities may anchor. Anticipate seeing them in urban areas adapted from older, possibly historic, buildings and part of mixed-use projects.
Power Center: Several large anchors, including discount department stores, off-price stores, warehouse clubs or "category killers" (stores that offer huge selection in particular merchandise categories at low prices) dominate. The center consists of several freestanding anchors and only a few, small specialty tenants. Outlet Center: Outlet centers consist of manufacturers' and retailers' outlet stores selling their brands at a discount. They are found in rural or tourist locations. Outlet center designs include enclosed malls, a "village" cluster or a strip configuration.

Limited-Purpose Centers
Typical GLA Range (Sq. Ft.)
# of Anchors
Typical Type of Anchors
Airport Retail Consolidation of retail stores located within a commercial airport
75,000 - 300,000
Specialty retail and restaurants with no anchors
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