A shopping mall is a modern, chiefly North American, the term for a form of shopping precinct or shopping center, in which one or more buildings form a complex of shops representing merchandisers with interconnecting walkways that enable customers to walk from unit to unit. A shopping arcade is a specific type of shopping precinct which is usually distinguished in English for mall shopping by the fact that connecting walkways are not owned by a single proprietor and are in open air. Shopping malls in 2017 accounted for 8% of retailing space in the United States.Many early shopping arcades such as the Burlington Arcade in London, the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II in Milan, and numerous arcades in Paris are famous and still trading. However, many smaller arcades have been demolished, replaced with large centers or "malls", often accessible by vehicle. Technical innovations such as electric lighting and escalators were introduced from the late 19th century.From the late 20th century, entertainment venues such as movie theaters and restaurants began to be added. As a single built structure, early shopping centers were often architecturally significant constructions, enabling wealthier patrons to buy goods in spaces protected from the weather.
In places around the world, the term shopping center is used, especially in Europe, Australia, and South America. Mall is a term used predominantly in North America.Outside of North America, "shopping precinct" and "shopping arcade" are also used. In North America, Gulf countries, and India, the term shopping mall is usually applied to enclosed retail structures (and is generally abbreviated to simply mall), while shopping centre usually refers to open-air retail complexes; both types of facilities usually have large parking lots, face major traffic arterials, and have few pedestrian connections to surrounding neighbourhoods.In the United Kingdom and Ireland, "malls" are commonly referred to as shopping centers. Mall primarily refers to either a shopping mall – a place where a collection of shops all adjoin a pedestrian area – or an exclusively pedestrianized street that allows shoppers to walk without interference from vehicle traffic.
In North America, mall is generally used to refer to a large shopping area usually composed of a single building which contains multiple shops, usually "anchored" by one or more department stores surrounded by a parking lot, while the term "arcade" is more often used, especially in Britain, to refer to a narrow pedestrian-only street, often covered or between closely spaced buildings (see town centre).The majority of British shopping centres are located in city centres, usually found in old and historic shopping districts and surrounded by subsidiary open air shopping streets. Large examples include West Quay in Southampton; Manchester Arndale; Bullring Birmingham; Liverpool One; Trinity Leeds; Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow; and Eldon Square in Newcastle upon Tyne. In addition to the inner city shopping centres, large UK conurbations will also have large out-of-town "regional malls" such as the Metrocentre in Gateshead; Meadowhall Centre, Sheffield serving South Yorkshire; the Trafford Centre in Greater Manchester; White Rose Centre in Leeds; and Bluewater in Kent. These centres were built in the 1980s and 1990s, but planning regulations prohibit the construction of any more. Out-of-town shopping developments in the UK are now focused on retail parks, which consist of groups of warehouse style shops with individual entrances from outdoors. Planning policy prioritizes the development of existing town centres, although with patchy success. Westfield Stratford City, in Stratford (London), is the largest shopping centre in Europe with over 330 shops, 50 restaurants and an 11 screen cinema and Westfield London is the largest inner-city shopping center in Europe. Bullring, Birmingham is the busiest shopping centre in the UK welcoming over 36.5 million shoppers in its opening year. There are a reported 222 malls in Europe. In 2014, these malls had combined sales of $12.47 billion. This represented a 10% bump in revenues from the prior year.