Anchor Stores: The Driving Force Behind Commercial Development

Large supermarkets, department stores and movie theaters generate a steady stream of patrons to shopping malls in the region, benefitting the smaller businesses located there.

Consider the mall you visit most often in Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Nayarit. If you are a resident, you probably think of the one located nearest your home or the one that provides a service or product you need on a recurring basis. If the latter is true, you most likely frequent a type of business called an “anchor store.”

Every mall includes at least one of these establishments. The model conceived by Austrian architect Victor David Gruen in the mid-1950s, introduced the concept of the shopping mall in the United States, establishing the layout of the space, offerings and appearance of these new developments, based on the basic principle that the more time a shopper spends in a mall, the more money spent.

But what exactly is an anchor store? And how does it increase overall sales at a mall? It is a large establishment, usually a department store or self-service store belonging to a national or international chain. Due to its heavy traffic, it generates a large flow of shoppers to the entire mall, increasing exposure and potential sales for the other businesses located there. In a nutshell, the anchor store is the one that attracts the most shoppers.

Placed in strategic locations, usually at the end of a mall, they increase the opportunity for shoppers to be exposed to and patronize the mall’s other establishments. The importance of anchor stores hinges on this factor.

According to data from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), Mexico has more malls than any other country in Latin America (around 600). Since Banderas Bay has witnessed a great deal of this commercial real estate development, we decided to present you a list of some of the anchor stores that currently drive business to the area’s main malls.

Liverpool · Galerías Vallarta

Mexico’s largest department store chain has established itself as one of the country’s most successful anchor stores. In Puerto Vallarta it benefits Galerías Vallarta, attracting both the local and foreign markets. Its space is the largest in the complex and is designed so that its exits open to various parts of the mall, leading the way to other types of businesses.

Starbucks · Nima Shops

Opened in 2010, Starbucks Marina Vallarta has helped revitalize the area that runs along Popa Street, including establishments in Plaza Neptuno. This is an example of a phenomenon that has appeared in recent years, where restaurants and other food service providers are consolidated as strong anchor stores.

A similar case is the Paradise Plaza Shopping Center, in Nuevo Vallarta, where another Starbucks serves the same function.

Soriana · Plaza Caracol

The variety of products available in self-service stores, many of which meet basic needs, guarantees a good influx of shoppers. Soriana, one of the largest chains of self-service stores nationwide, is the main draw at this mall, well known among residents around the North Hotel Zone.

Walmart · Macroplaza

Although not all the commercial spaces at the Macroplaza are occupied, the presence of Walmart has sustained the complex. Because of its location, this branch serves the inhabitants of such nearby areas as El Pitillal, Fluvial Vallarta, Los Sauces and Aralias.

Cinépolis · Lago Real

Although Plaza Lago Real, in Nuevo Vallarta, has a branch of Walmart as an anchor store, the traffic generated by Cinépolis is equally impressive. This theater offers a special rate that attracts people from the nearby communities of Riviera Nayarit.

Mr. Cream and La Dolce Vita · 3.14 Plaza

Although probably not conceived as such, Mr. Cream has become an anchor store for this mall in Nuevo Vallarta. Only open in the morning and early afternoon, it attracts the majority of the patrons during that time period. In the afternoon and evening, a similar phenomenon occurs with gourmet restaurant La Dolce Vita.

Can you think of an anchor store in the region we have omitted from the list? If so, please share it with us through our official “Vallarta Real Estate Guide” page on Facebook.