Majority of Americans Say Shopping Centers Are Community Partners

The local shopping center or mall is viewed as a focal point of the community and a good community partner in the minds of a majority of Americans, according to a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers.

The survey, which marks the 50th anniversary of the association, found that people see their local mall or shopping center as more than simply a place to shop, but as gathering places that have worked hard to weave themselves into the fabric of the communities they serve.

The survey, released Monday, was conducted by Opinion Research Corp. It explored the impressions of 1,000-plus Americans 18 and over asking them a series of questions about their feelings concerning their local shopping center or mall.

ICSC 50th Anniversary Survey findings:

* Overall, 53 percent of respondents said they felt their favorite shopping center had a somewhat to very favorable impact on their lives with almost two-thirds of women responding affirmatively and 44 percent of men agreeing. Further, a consistent majority across all age, regional, race, income, and education categories felt the same.

* When asked if the local shopping center or mall tries to bond with the community and be a respected community partner, 64 percent of respondents said they agreed somewhat to very much with that statement. A similarly strong 64 percent said they agreed that their local shopping center or mall is an important part of their community. More than half of the respondents agreed that their shopping center or mall is a focal point of the community and a place that’s become a part of the fabric of the community.

* Men and women shared a similar favorable impression of their local shopping center or mall as a positive in the community and a good partner. When asked whether they felt their local shopping center or mall is a meeting or gathering place for them and their family, 32 percent of men and women respondents said they agreed at least somewhat with that statement.

“The industry and Association recognizes the responsibilities our shopping centers and malls have in the communities we serve,” said Michael P. Kercheval, ICSC president and chief executive officer. “(The survey) demonstrates that people feel pretty good about the centers they frequent and that the local shopping center or mall has taken on a larger presence as a meeting place and good community partner and the industry can feel particularly proud of that.”

Founded in 1957, ICSC is the global retail real estate trade association for the shopping center industry. The association has more than 68,000 members in the United States, Canada, and 92 other countries.