What Do Americans Call Shopping Centers?

A shopping mall (American English) or shopping complex (Commonwealth English) is a group of stores built together, sometimes under one roof. Shopping centers are a collection of buildings connected to each other or very close together, so the term 'shopping mall' is often used as an abbreviation. In the United States, stores are usually referred to as 'shops', while in Britain, 'shop' is more likely to refer to a small retail establishment such as an antique store or gift shop. A shopping strip (the American equivalent of what some Britons call a parade of stores) is a group of stores and businesses that overlook a road or highway and are often located outside or on the outskirts of a town or city.

Some pharmacies, especially those that belong to large American retail chains, may even have a one-hour photo processing department on site, where customers can have their photos developed and printed. The term 'department store' has been part of the British and American English vocabulary for more than a hundred years. An English-speaker who goes shopping at a department store in the United States will usually find at least one full-size department store and often several; specialty stores and boutiques are numerous, and there are usually several restaurants and perhaps a movie theater. A shopping mall is a collection of independent retail stores, services and a parking area conceived, built and maintained by a management company as a unit. Aspects that planners consider when building a shopping mall include the viability of the site in terms of the community's capacity to support it; adequate vehicle access; and the size, access, and topography of the site, as well as the availability of public services, zoning laws and land use in the immediate area. The smaller type of shopping center, known as the neighborhood center, usually focuses on a supermarket accompanied by daily convenience stores such as a drugstore, shoe store, laundry and dry cleaning. The regional mall offers a full range of shopping services comparable to those found in a small central business district.

The community shopping center contains all the services mentioned above, in addition to a medium-sized department store or variety store which acts as the center of attention. Americans are always on the move, so it's easy to find second-hand items for sale - especially household items. If you're planning to go shopping at an American department store, you'll probably find the following expressions useful: 'jersey' (which refers to a warm knitted garment that covers the upper half of the body), 'sweater' (a sleeveless dress worn over a shirt or blouse).