1.1 Introduction

The global retail sector has been witnessing a rapid growth and improvements for the past few decades due to rise in the number of number of retail chains, supermarket stores and clothing brands. Nowadays, shopping centres have become a group of retail businesses of different kinds, which are planned, designed, developed, owned and managed as a single unit (Ahmad, 2012).  The idea of shopping centres was to create retail agglomerations that unite different types of retailers at one place, which makes it easier for the customers to purchase different items at once (Reimers and Clulow, 2009).  Shopping centres are also known as one-stop centres because they can encompass 50 to 200 retail stores of different brands and different categories of products. There are many other factors of the shopping centres which raise the attractiveness of these shopping centres to customers (Dawson and Lord, 2012). They are not simply a place for shopping but also serve as recreational and social activities centres because of presence of food outlets, restaurants, cafeterias, cinemas, bowling spot, gyms etc (Pitt and Musa, 2009).

The attractiveness of the shopping centres or shopping malls is one of the fundamental factors that are responsible for the success of the retail agglomerations (Sebastian and Purwanegara, 2014). Shopping centres of different sizes are apparent in the cities and towns of almost all the developed and emerging countries and have been a significant part of the retail industry of those economies. However, what makes these one-stop shopping centres attractive to the people and pursues them to shop items from these places is a major question (Teller and Elms, 2012). This research attempts to identify and evaluate the factors of the attractiveness of the shopping centres. This research study conducts the effective mechanisms and ideas that are needed to manage the attractiveness of the large retail agglomerations.

Shopping malls are important in determining the direction of consumers’ lifestyle. It is a one stop solution for enjoying the essence of social and recreational life outside the daily struggle of meeting both ends of life (Teller, 2008). The growth in the number of shopping malls has made people more selective in their purchasing decisions. This selection is mostly based on the added attractiveness offered by particular malls while competing with others. People like variety and a particular mall that will be able to provide more in terms of variety will lead to attract more consumers. It is evident that the factors, which may seem to be attractive to one consumer may seem unattractive to other and this preferential distinction has increased the level of difficulty for the managers to identify and manage the factors that can bring more customers to a particular shopping centre to gain competitive advantage (Ismail El-Adly, 2007). This includes the relationship between the authority of shopping centres, the retailers and tenants.

1.2 Background of the Research topic

Large shopping centres or malls have become a common site in the urban landscape of most of the advance as well as developing countries, which are looked upon as the one-stop destination of shopping (Rajagopal, 2011). In other words, these centres have emerged as large retail hubs encompassing a large number of specialized retailers and departmental stores offering a variety of products that catering to the demands of the urban consumers (Ahmad, 2012). It was observed that the preferences of the consumers are becoming diversified due to the expansion of retail categories and emergence of large store formats that comprises of more than one retailer. There is large number of factors such as size, location, building-structure, design, facilities, etc. that attracts the large customers towards these shopping centres. According to Kanoga, Njugana and Bett (2015) shopping centres have become a vital part of the retail industry, which are a modernized type of retail concentration in terms of space and structure. They integrate all types of retailers selling different categories of products and services, which suits the trend of consumer’s preferences (Teller et al, 2010). Shopping centres came into existence due to the attempts of the retail shop owners to meet the diverse expectations of the consumers by selling a multiple categories or varieties of products. This eventually led to the idea of one-stop shopping centres where there was uniformity of all the shops with some distinctiveness in their product offerings (Sebastian and Purwanegara, 2014). Thus, most of these shopping centres have nearly same types of shops, offering a similar assortment of products at slightly competitive prices.

However, in most of the countries, shopping malls or centres have developed dynamically and are designed to attract the third generation (Kumar and Thakur, 2014). These large centres to differentiate themselves from usual supermarkets stores include multiplex cinemas, restaurants, bars, sports or games spot, spa, gyms etc. apart from just having retail stores of various types. There are numerous researches in this regard which studied the consumer behaviour in the shopping centres, factors resulting in satisfaction of the customers within shopping malls and the difference between street shops and shopping malls i.e. determination of agglomeration attractiveness to the consumers. However, these area still have several uncovered aspects which needs to be analyzed and the management of the features or attractive factors of these large sized shopping centres is one such area.

London is known as the fashion capital of the world and houses most prestigious brands in the world. UK has seen many changes over the year in terms of total number of malls and the way through which they are managed since 1960. Shopping Centres form an important sector as a contributor to the economy of UK and possess some unique characteristics which distinguish it from the rest of the world.

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