The Metrocentre

(ai) The metrocentre is located on the outskirts of Newcastle, in my opinion it is situated in a very clever place. It is just outside the main built up areas of the city so most citizens are within a half an hour drive of it. Also, the people of other nearby areas like Sunderland and South Shields are quite near to the metrocentre and would be prepared to travel there as it has a large range of goods and therefore a larger sphere of influence. Another good feature of the site is that it is near to public transport links. There are two train lines running almost straight past the site one coming from Carlisle the other from Newcastle city centre. In summary the metrocentre is located on an excellent site as it as accessible from a long way away both by road and public transport, these links would definitely increase the chances of more customers going to the centre.

(aii) The layout of the centre is very clever as it attracts people to all of the stores. Firstly the centre has many entrances situated all around the place, this means that people filter in all over the store instead of having to rush in through one or two entrances. Also, knowing that supermarkets attract the most people the designers cleverly put one supermarket at each and of the building. This means that as people walk towards one end of the centre they will pass by lots of other shops which they might want to visit like House of Frasier. The more specialist areas like crafts and antiques and the cinema are put of to one side as the only people likely to go there are ones predetermined to do so.

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(bi) The layout is clever as at the top end it passes very close to a train station and at the bottom and side entrances it has easy access by road. The layout has clearly been carefully planned to fit the important travel networks as the most important thing for a place like the metrocentre is to be accessible to your customers.

(bii) The car parks have been carefully placed for two main reasons. Firstly, they are spread out so that people coming from different roads park in different areas. If they just had one huge car park there would be a massive convergence of traffic into it which could cause congestion. Also, the only entrances from the car parks into the main buildings take you through shops, there by encouraging you to by products.

(biii) The main stores are place in the central hall at both of the far ends they have placed supermarkets, as they know you will probably visit a supermarket during your time in the store. Other chain/department stores are found on the sides ensuring you walk past them at some point during you visit. The more specialist entertainment stores like the cinema have been placed away from the main shops in an attempt to create a separate leisure wing of the centre.

(c) Complexes like the metrocentre are becoming increasingly common for a number of reasons:

* With inner city areas becoming so crowded it has been hard for larger shops to expand.

* It makes more sense to situate the most popular shops close together as it will attract more customers.

* Land out of cities is cheaper.

* If the shops are situated in the city centre then parking is harder so they prefer to locate further out as it means that they can build large car parks to accommodate customers.

* Being situated out of town means that you are more accessible to more people by train and car.

* The new shopping centres create lots of jobs and improved local travel links.

(d) However, despite the good points for out of town shopping centres many people oppose them for a number of reasons:

* All of the big shops like Marks and Spencer move from town centres, taking with them lots of the customers that used to use local village shops.

* Smaller shops can’t compete with the cheap prices of place like the metrocentre so they quickly go out of business.

* Town centres soon become “dead” this means that they are empty even on Saturday afternoons (prime shopping time) because everyone has gone to their nearest metrocentre.

* Soon a town, once reliant on shopping has to turn to other sources like tourism as many businesses face up to a 70% loss of profits.

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