Retailing in city centres was very expensive due to the expensive land rents, but land on the outskirts could be bought for less. In addition, many Central Business District (CBD) stores were old and in need of modernisation, this too would have been very expensive.
Many shoppers were once quite faithful to their local store. Today, many people like to compare the types of goods and look for a competitive deal or one-off exclusive item. Large out-of-town shopping centres allow consumers to:
Improvements in road networks, including motorways, in and around our urban areas allow consumers to drive quickly, and often with less congestion, to out-of-town shopping areas compared with CBDs.
Due to the success of out-of-town shopping, there has been decentralisation of retailing, whereby major retailers have moved their premises from central locations in the CBD to the edge of the city. This causes the doughnut (north America) or polo effect (UK) where there is an economic, social and retailing hole in the middle of the city.
In addition, many large retail parks have also increased traffic and congestion on the roads. This increases pollution from exhaust emissions which contributes to the greenhouse effect. Some retail parks on the edge of town have been developed on greenfield sites. This is damaging to the environment and reduces the available open green spaces between one urban area and another.
Nine to five is still a popular way to shop on the high street. However people now expect to be able to shop 24/7, either online from the comfort of their own home or by visiting a large store which is open 24-hours a day.