Solving The Puzzle Of Mixed Research Methodology In A Practical Way For Shopping Centers

Solving The Puzzle Of Mixed Research Methodology In A Practical Way 

 

Introduction 

Shopping centres range in size from small strip centres that serve the convenience needs of neighbourhoods to giant megamalls that have tens of thousands of square metres of retail space and even serve as major tourist destinations.

There are three basic location types a retailer should distinguish: the isolated store, the unplanned business district, and the planned shopping centre (Berman and Evans, 1995, p. 300). 

The focus of this paper is only on the planned shopping centre and its so-called “ideal” tenant mix. A planned shopping centre consists of a group of architecturally-unified commercial establishments built on a site that is centrally owned or managed, designed and operated as a unit, based on “balanced tenancy”, and surrounded by parking facilities. Its location, size, and mix of stores (tenants) are related to the trade area being served (Berman and Evans, 1995, p. 305). 

Typically it has one or more anchor stores or major tenant(s) and a diversity of smaller stores. The anchor store(s), whether it is a supermarket or department store, largely determines the character and profile of the centre and pro- vides most of the visibility needed to attract customers. 

In developing a new shopping centre, the first step is to evaluate the feasibility, considering factors such as marketing demographics, building costs, and, of course, expected revenues (Bean et al., 1988, p. 2). However, the latter factor is directly dependent on the tenants of retail space in the centre – it is after all the tenants that generate the income for the centre. 

According to Greenspan (1987, p. 27) the three things that matter most to tenants and to owners of a shopping centre alike are traffic, traffic and traffic. Both need lots of customers – the more the better.

Centre location and trade area analysis 

The earliest attempts to employ research in evaluating sites for retail stores date back about half a century. Store location research, both as an academic field and practical area of enquiry, owes much to the formative work of Applebaum (1965). Centre location research is essentially concerned with identifying the ideal position and site for a new shopping centre.

Sample research methodology 

In this empirical research study, a research methodology was purpose-developed for determining the “ideal” tenant mix in advance of the erection of a proposed shopping centre in the Constantia SMSA of the Western Cape province, near Cape Town, South Africa. 

The proposed centre will have a retail floor space size of about 13,000 m2, including a major food/supermarket retail outlet as an anchor tenant, totalling about 2,000 m2 in retail floor space, and about 30 other tenants. Based on these parameters, it can thus be categorized as a typical neighbourhood shopping centre (Berman and Evans, 1995, p. 310).

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