Shopping Malls

The accessibility and enhanced shopping experience, that malls provide are unparalleled. These eat-play-shop venues have become distinct features of the urban lifestyle and are now popping up everywhere.
OpinionFront Staff
Previously, there were exclusive shopping centers where a customer could move around the quaint shops or blocks and choose whatever he or she fancied. A shopping mall is no different, its only larger. It is a building or sometimes a set of buildings, with a number of retail outlets. The difference lies in the interconnecting corridors or walks that enable customers to access each unit and move back and forth, if needed, before investing in any particular product or service. The visitors can walk from unit to unit and relax at the in-between sit-outs or snack bars as they shop! Malls are also referred to as retail parks or precincts.

Products and Services Available

Shopping malls are either enclosed retail structures or open-air retail complexes. They flaunt a mix of local shops and international chain stores. They make available easy access to a number of products and services like apparel, electronic items, footwear, accessories, exclusive jewelry, beauty products, and even services! Arcades also enable the shoppers to lounge around, listen to music, entrust children to a play pen, and enjoy a snack or a beverage as they shop. The whole shopping experience has been redefined. It is now a family affair and no more cumbersome even for dad! He gets space to continue work on the laptop or sip on hot chocolate or a lemonade, as mom drains his bank balance!

Types

The early indoor mall was usually two or three-story, complete with a basement and shops located on all levels. Today, the difference is the vertical expansion; it have many more levels. The in-house utilities and the variety has increased too. The concept of the enclosed mall was experimented on and pioneered by the American immigrant from Austria, Victor Gruen. This new generation arcade is an open-air pedestrian shopping center enclosed to enhance the appeal and experience within the dense, new, sprawling, and large residential suburbs. Today there are complexes that are agglomerations and literally, distinct landmarks. The malls today have hundreds of retail centers and speciality stores.

Pedestrian Precincts

A mall is also a term used to refer to a place that has a collection of outlets, adjoining a pedestrian area. This enables the shoppers to walk around and check out the products and services without interference from vehicle traffic. Usually, the term arcade is also used for such an arrangement with a narrow pedestrian-only street between closely spaced buildings. The trend is to create the shopping centers within old shopping districts, surrounded by subsidiary streets. The retail parks comprise warehouse style shops with individual entrances and accessibility from the outdoors. The pedestrian precincts also have hundreds of shops, restaurants, and screen cinema avenues.

Components

Shopping malls now have exclusive food courts that offer different cuisine. The food court enables the shoppers to order the snack or meal and carry it to a common dining area. These venues are usually plaza contiguous, flaunting counters of a number of food vendors. Malls have their own underground or adjacent parking facilities, not to side-line the valet parking services. They also have segments within the main basement or the entrance arena to look after toddlers. The adolescents can indulge in the cyber cafes or the gaming arcades within. There are masseur services and make overs regularly announced, along with DJ music! Malls are weather-protected and offer the ultimate 'under-one-roof' shopping experience.

A shopping property management company specializes in managing malls. This management is welcomed by the retailers who either own the shops or rent them, since the functionality of the utilities, like the escalators and elevators, are taken care of by the management firm.
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