Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Shopping Centres

There are many kinds of shopping centres (American: centers), each with advantages and disadvantages. This lesson focuses on explaining the differences between them.

Shopping centres include: shopping malls, outlet malls, strip malls, department stores, megastores, and town centres.


1. Malls are like a block of flats, but for shops. Each little shop rents space each month, and the mall owners make money by collecting this rent. So, it's one big building, but with lots of little companies. There is usually a large food court, and a parking garage. It's great for rainy days.

2. A Strip Mall is an outdoor mall. The strip is a little street or pavement (American: sidewalk). You have to go outside to the strip to go from one shop to another. Strip malls have large car parks. It's great for sunny days, not so much for rainy ones. Neo Zone in Spišská Nová Ves is a strip mall.

3. An Outlet Mall can be indoors or out. What makes it special is there are always sales - everything is on discount (akcie). Outlet malls collect clothing and other products that weren't popular in regular stores, and try to sell them again at lower prices. You can find famous brands, even Prada and Armani at cheaper prices - but remember, it's all the least popular clothing from last year. It's not second hand, but it's not really new either. During holiday shopping, outlet malls become a nightmarish hell-scape where people fight each other over the one, last, nice coat, etc. And, it looks like a cyclone hit it.

Department Stores

Department stores are not malls. A department store is one big shop with many floors. They sell many different things, from food, to clothing, to electronics and books. They sell almost everything - but each part, or department, of the store is owned by one company. They make deals with manufacturers to get all the best brand names, but the department store has to sell it, and shares the profit. Department stores don't rent space like a mall, so, no matter where you go in Selfridge's, for example, you're still in Selfridge's.

Here are some photos of famous department stores, from the book:


Megastores (also called Hypermarkets in Britain) are very similar to department stores. It's also one large company, selling a variety of goods, organized into different sections or departments. So, what's the difference?

1. Department stores are older. Megastores are newer.
2. Department stores are located in cities, although you can sometimes find a smaller one in a shopping mall. Megastores are often located outside large cities, or in smaller towns, or even between towns, in the middle of the woods.
3. Department stores usually don't have a car park. Customers walk to the shop, and take public transportation home - it's practical for city life. Megastores have huge car parks.
4. Department stores are more upscale. They look nicer, and sell classier items. Upscale & classy mean luxurious, and more expensive. Megastores look cheap and ugly in comparison - with no windows, and warehouse style ceilings, and they sell cheap, practical items, often of lower quality.

Famous megastores include:


Some megastores focus on one kind of product, like:
construction: Home Depot, Lowes, Baumax
furniture: IKEA, Kika, Jordon's
toys: Toys 'R' Us, Babies 'R' Us, FAO Schwartz


A supermarket is like a megastore that focuses on food. It may sell some other things, like magazines, toys, socks, and things for your kitchen and bathroom. But it's mostly food.

Town Centres

A Town Centre is also a shopping centre, usually with small, locally owned shops. Some large cities have chain stores in their town centre, usually mixed in with local shops.

A chain store is any store with many locations, all selling the same products. Chains stores are usually found in malls, but are sometimes placed on city streets.

Town centres are special for several reasons. They serve more functions than merely shopping. Town centres have churches, parks, squares, concerts, fairs (trhy), theatres, and museums. Town centres are historic. Many of the important events in a town's history happen in the centre.

Town centres often compete with malls and megastores for customers. Some town centres lose all their business, and the shops go bankrupt. Some towns make it hard to park in the centre, making people pay to park, and issuing parking tickets. This hurts local business.

When local businesses go bankrupt, all the money they would've earned goes to chain stores and megastores - out of town. When local businesses do well, the money stays in town, and store owners can provide the town with charities and public works.

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