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1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 58 (24)

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition
1952 Theatre Catalog
1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 58
Page 58

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 58

A New Theatre in a Regional Shopping Center

The Cinema at F raminghamis Mammoth Shopperis World Takes Advantage of the Shift to Suburban Retailing

Following the dynamic shift of American retail merchandising from the metropolitan centers to the suburbs in the past decade, the itpackaged" regional shopping center has emerged as the most spectacular phenomenon of this trend. As these mammoth suburban market places continue to spring up across the nation, a radical change in the merchandising, shopping and moviegoing habits of the public is destined to take place.


The continuing march of retailers to the suburbs began several years ago when the chain department stores, particularly Sears and Roebuck, discovered that an outlying store with good parking facilities could attract a huge volume of trade, even if it was situated many miles from long established metropolitan shopping districts. And while moving out of range of competition, they moved almost into the backyards of their customers.

Population Increase

Certain more basic factors contribute largely to recent acceleration of suburban selling. In the ten years between 1940 and 1950, the rate of population increase was the largest in the countryls history, with the suburban areas accounting for almost half of the total increase. The suburban areas are growing much faster than the cities or rural areas, and the present rate of populae tion increase-an amazing 2,500,000 a year -s is continuing to point toward more intensive suburban development.

Crowded Highways

Another factor is the meteoric rise in the number of automobiles in the past decade from 32,000,000 in 1940 to about 50,000,000 in 1950. The traffic and parking problems which have resulted make city shopping inconvenient in many ins stances, and make suburban shopping -and movie-goingemore attractive.

Poor. Costly Public Transit

An additional situation which has encouraged the rapid growth of suburban merchandising is the currently poor state of most of the nations public transportation systems. Commuter trains, subways, trolleys and buses haVe deteriorated seriously in recent years, both in service and in the quality and comfort of conveyances. And with this, fares have steadily increased to a point Where the cost of public transportation represents a major expense to persons who must regularly travel to the city to work, shop or go to the movies.

Los Angeles, third largest consumer market in the country, presents the most dramatic example, of the increas


Ketchum, Gina' and Sharp. Architect:

ing emphasis on suburban merchandising. Here, downtown stores last year contributed only 35 per cent of the areas total department store sales volume. Los Angeles biggest department store, the May Company, transacts nearly half of its business in its CrenShaw and Wilshire suburban branches, and is planning to shift that balance even more with the opening of a 345,000square-foot branch in the lakewood shopping center. Another of the area/s leading department stores, Broadway Stores, now does 60 per cent of its total business from four suburban units.

Similar shifts to suburban retailing are in evidence in every large market area in the country, but a new phenomenon has evolved. It is the regional shopping center.


These centers are generally built on a site of 40 acres or more, and contain several thousand feet of retail space. They usually include at least one large department store branch and 40

g.. BRIEF: Probably the most singularly outstanding development in the field of exhibition in recent years . . . and destined to be one of the most significant for many years to come . . . is the regional shopping center theatre. A spectacular manifestation of the shift in retail merchandising from the city to the suburbs . . . the regional shopping center has opened a new field for rheatre operation. For in partnership with merchants, theatres in a regional center can cater to the automobile trade . . . and add the drawing power of 40 or 50 shops to their own patron appeal. They can lake advantage of the centeris concentrated parkng facilities and lower operating costs.

Typifying the important trend toward centralization of shopping facilities in the suburbs is the. mammoth Shopperis World at Fromingham, Mass. . . . an $3,000,000 project recently opened about 20 miles west of Boston. Ono. of the most important Plemcnis of the centcr is its theatre, the Cinema. lVithoul it. the balanced program of retailng amusement and service necessary to the full (lcvclopment of the centeris potential trade cannot be achieved. With, it, the center can offcr u lop selection of every (you of downtown cuslorncr attraction. Like the drive-in, the shopping ccnlcr thcolrc has captured the automobile trodc and like the drive-in, its success is assured by the highly attractive convenience it offers.


or more smaller shops and stores. They are carefully planned for a smooth flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic into, around and out of the center. However large the regional shopping center may be, and however numerous its components, it is always planned as a tightly integrated unit.

The shopping center offers great advantages to both the tenants and the customers they serve. For the retailer and the theatre operator there is the advantage of the great drawing power of a large group of stores, carefully selected for their competitive and supplementary qualities. Competition is carefully planned and balanced, making for a combined drawing power far greater than the sum total of each store's individual appeal.

The customer has the advantage of being able to satisfy just. about any combination of merchandising needs and go to the moviesein a single trip. And, aside from the convenience of hone-stop" shopping, the customer can shop in the pleasant surroundings that tree-lined malls and beautifully landscaped greens offer.

The Shopping Center Theatre

Theatres are one of the most important elements in a regional shopping center. Without them, the balanced program of retailing, amusement and service units necessary '\to the full development of the centers potential trade cannot be achieved. With them, the center can offer a top selection of every type of downtown customer attraction. They are vital in creating a center where every square foot of rental space enjoys a u100 per cent location."

Regional shopping centers have opened up a fresh field for theatre operation. In partnership with retail merchants, theatres in a regional center can cater to the automobile trade, and add the drawing power of 40 to 50 shops and stores to their own customer appeal. They can take full advantage of the centers concentrated customer traffic, ample parking, lower operating costs. Regional centers are rapidly changing the shopping and theatre-going habits of a large segment of our country's population.

A New Frontier

Shoppingr centers of this type mark a new frontier in retailing. For more than 15 years, Shops and stores have followed their customers out to the Suburbs. Scattered stores and store groups are still being located, in hit-orvmiss

AN AIR VIEW of The Shopper's World. Framingham, Mass., on a typical afternoon furnishes visible proof 0! the relationship between the automobile and modem merchandising facilities.

1952 Theatre Catalog, 10th Edition, Page 58