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Is the Soul Being Taken Out of Shopping?

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The chances are a big chunk of your weekly shopping is done in a major indoor shopping mall. It’s an Australian phenomenon that is starting to spread around the world.

Westfield, an Aussie company, has 119 centres around the world, the vast majority in the US and Australia. They have now broken into the UK market, with out-of-town style centres in Nottingham, Stratford, Bradford and London. There’s another one on the way soon.

But they haven’t stopped opening in Australia — three more are on the way despite the recent troubles experienced by the Centro Group, their largest competitor, and the collapse of the new Top Ryde shopping centre in Sydney’s west.

I ask Brian Walker from the Retail Doctor Group whether the growth of indoor shopping centres is sustainable. Surely online shopping is having an impact, perhaps encouraging retailers to reduce their floorspace stores, as shoppers preferring to browse online.

Brian believes they still have a rosy future, but warns that they do need to induce a little local flavour to add to the quality of the shopping experience. Who knows, with a little variety, perhaps even I would enjoy visiting these places. At the moment, I’m rather gnaw off my own arm.

First published on CBS News

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