Difference between Shopping Center and Department Store

Key Difference: Shopping centers are stores that are arranged in a row and share a building. These stores are connected to each other, but do not have a centralized internal access for the public. The stores share a building and may even share a parking lot in the front. Department stores are retail stores that offer various goods and products. A department store is sort of a one-stop shop for many people. The stores try and stock as many objects that people would need in their daily routine.

Shopping centers and department stores are two different types of shopping stores. They are often confused as many people believe them to be the same thing. Shopping centers are generally stores that are arranged in a strip mall layout, while department stores are a type of retail stores that house multiple products under the same roof.

Shopping centers are stores that are arranged in a row and share a building. These stores are connected to each other, but do not have a centralized internal access for the public. The stores share a building and may even share a parking lot in the front. They have stores in the front, while loading docks in the back. Shopping centers are also known as strip malls or open-air malls. Shopping centers are quite similar to malls, one of the reason they are often confused with a mall but have slight differences. Shopping centers do now allow an enclosed area for the public. This means that there is no connected pathway that allows access to the all the stores from one place. The person would have to exit one store to enter another. The pathways are also not fully covered and may offer a shade such as a hallway. Shopping centers also do not have large stores to attract the public.

The centers also do not offer additional activities such as gaming area, play area, amusement park, etc. Shopping centers also do not have a food court, though they may share the parking lot with food kiosks. There may also be a select food store, depending if the store is leased by that food company. For example, in the middle of all the clothing stores, Subway Sandwich may have leased a store to offer food for the public. Shopping centers usually house small supermarkets, video rental stores, dry cleaning, grocery stores, coffee shops, etc. The first shopping centers have been dated back to ancient Europe, when they would have covered bazaars. Many state that shopping centers are open-malls, while closed shopping centers are shopping malls. There is not clear definition to the term ‘shopping center’ it has been evolved from everyday speech.

Department stores are retail stores that offer various goods and products such as clothing, furniture, home appliances, toys, cosmetics, gardening, toiletries, sporting goods, food, books, jewelry, electronics, stationery, etc. A department store is sort of a one-stop shop for many people. The stores try and stock as many objects that people would need in their daily routine, this includes food, clothes, bedding, medicine, etc. These goods are offered at variable prices, depending on the store. Many stores offer a discounted price, which earns them the name discount stores as well. Department stores also offer Do-It-Yourself, which allows people to grab the materials from the store and create it themselves. The oldest department store in the world is Bennett's of Irongate in Derby, Britain founded in 1734.

Department stores can also specialize in selling particular items such as clothing and jewelry (Macy’s), or offer a combination of products together such as Costco or Walmart. Department stores are commonly part of a retail chain of many stores situated around a country or several countries. They could be a stand-alone store or a part of a mall or shopping complex. Department stores will not necessarily offer additional activities such as food courts, play areas, etc. or even parking structures.

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