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Geography

Changing shopping patterns

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Out-of-town shopping

In order to sell goods, shops need to be located where people can get to them easily. They need a large sphere of influence [sphere of influence: The distance that people are willing to travel in order to get to a particular place, eg a shopping centre. that guarantees a steady flow of customers and increasing profit. Building large shopping centres near good transport routes and motorway junctions can help. Shoppers frequently come in cars and out-of-town shopping centres or retail parks can offer large, free car parks, eg Cribbs Causeway near Bristol, Bluewater in Kent and the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

Advantages of out-of-town shopping centres

  • More accessible than city centres, which are often congested.

  • Large, free car parks.

  • Larger stores – meaning there is a good range of products benefiting from economies of scale [economies of scale: The advantages of doing things on a large scale, eg buying more cheaply in bulk and reduced overhead costs per unit produced..

  • Indoor shopping malls – so not affected by the weather.

  • Purpose-built shopping and leisure experience with cafes, bowling alleys and cinemas.

Disadvantages of out-of-town shopping centres

  • Create more traffic, especially at weekends and bank holidays.

  • City centres lose trade because people go to the out-of-town shopping centres.

  • Harder for smaller shops and independent stores [independent store: A shop which is owned by an individual or group and is not a chain store. to be successful.

  • May not be as accessible to some members of the community, eg the elderly.

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