A shopping center, also a shopping mall / shopping mall (short mall), shopping center / shopping center or shopping center, is a spatial and organizational concentration of retail stores and service providers of different industries and possibly other services such as fitness centers or cinemas.
In keeping with the US definition of the shopping center, a shopping center in the narrower sense is a “single-unit, planned and managed agglomeration of retail and service businesses.”
To distinguish this are the “grown” agglomerations, also referred to as a shopping park, trading park, without uniform conception and without own center management, in the sense of an industrial area of the trade.
Compared to the department store or department store, shopping centers are defined by the fact that the operators do not trade on their own account, but only act as landlords and center management. At the department store, on the other hand, its operator usually connects the goods business on his own account with the management of the real estate ownership.
Often the English term shopping mall is equated with shopping center. A mall actually only designates the main shopping streets with adjacent sales area (for the origin of the word see Pall Mall). Shopping centers over 100,000 m² are also called Megamall.
According to B. Hahn, the mall is a covered and air-conditioned shopping center.  It is one of the discontinued models in the United States, where consumers prefer open construction that can be built at lower cost. The first mall was built in 1956 at Minneapolis.
There are many definitions of terms, the Austrian Association for shopping centers defines the classic shopping mall / shopping mall as a uniform planned and run, occupied by a larger number of independent retailers, service and catering establishments object. The following minimum size and minimum operating figures have been established:
4,000 m² of rentable space and at least 20 businesses or
4,000 m² of rentable space and at least ten companies, provided that at least two magnetic companies from different industries are available.
This is to avoid that consumer markets with a small shop bar, whose function is almost exclusively the cover of short-term needs, distort the picture. On the other hand, the centers included in the documentation at the lower surface area qualitatively fulfill the function of a shopping center, ie the “shopping” of selected goods (eg clothing, shoes, household goods, electrical and electronic goods, etc.). Often, in international definitions, the lower limit of the rentable area is set at 10,000 m².
The Federal Administrative Court adopts a shopping center as defined in the Building Use Ordinance, if “there is a spatial concentration of retail establishments of various types and sizes, usually in combination with various service providers, which is either planned in a uniform manner or is otherwise ‘grown’.
Shopping centers are considered major competitors to shopping streets.