Are out of town shopping centres good or bad?
Out of town shopping centres are huge buildings which contain hundreds of shops and departmental stores - Are out of town shopping centres good or bad? introduction. These shopping centres were invented in America in the 50’s and they became very popular. Nevertheless there was only one reason which made out of town shopping centres possible; the mass ownership of the car. This is because the entire scheme was based on people getting into their cars and travelling a long way to get there, and people would do this because there were so many advantages of out of town shopping centres.
Shopping centres only started when cars started to be mass produced because lots of people had to have a car for the businesses in the shopping centres to become profitable. The advantage of these excessively large shopping centres opposed to high street shops is the convenience of having over 300 shops under one roof, away from the weather, where there’s less crime and hundreds of activities. Another advantage is that these large shopping centres don’t take up that much space, compared to how much space 300 high street shops would take all lined up side by side.
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However an out of town shopping centre like Blue water does take up over 6 hectors but this is including 13,000 car park spaces which makes it the second largest car park in the country after Heath throw. Due to all of these shops in a small space a lot of people will travel to shop there and a lot of money will be made. Blue water for example will get around 30 million shoppers a year which generates a huge annual profit of around 800 million. Nevertheless Blue water had a huge capital investment of 400 million but this is gained back after just 6 months sales. Another benefit of Blue water is the amount of jobs it will create.
There are over 1000 employees in Blue water at any one time. These jobs not only include the hundreds of shops but the security, restaurants, entertainment, cleaners, managers, admin staff, reception etc. These shopping centres obviously have huge benefits but as said previously the entire scheme of out of town shopping centres is based on cars. Therefore people without cars cannot get there by themselves. This includes people teenagers from about 11 to 17, as teenagers younger than 11 would not be going there anyway and people older than 17 would be driving. Also people too old to drive or people who are disabled in some way e. ; blind, disabled/paraplegic, health conditions etc.
This means that the market is really aimed at people between the ages of 17 to 60 which is still a very large market. These shopping centres sound great for everyone but does everybody benefit. Unfortunately there are huge losses for sole trader high street shops and businesses in the surrounding area. This is because places like Blue water are so good and have all the benefits of being indoors, better security, larger shop spectrum etc that nobody bothers to go to the high street shops. So over time they close down.
The shops within 6km of Blue water in 1999 (when Blue water opened) had a drop in sales of 70%. This obviously resulted in the closure of virtually all of the shops and left thousands of people unemployed with no money and eventually forced to go and work for one of the large shops chains in Blue water or move elsewhere in search of another place to set up a business. Shopping centres have massive benefits but at a heavy cost of leaving so many people unemployed. Does the good out way the bad? I don’t think it does as a lot more people loose out than gain. Therefore the building of Blue water is not justified.