Malls, shopping centers and mixed use developments are undergoing rapid changes in the US today. Traditionally, shopping centers would include an anchor tenant. An anchor tenant is usually the most prominently featured tenant. Their name is on top of the signage for the commercial property. According to Square Foot, traditional anchor tenants have taken up 45-70% of square footage in a shopping center. The anchor tenant is the store that encourages shoppers to actually visit the mall, other stores are often places they buy additional goods from while they’re there.

 Who is and who isn’t an anchor store is changing as shopping patterns change. Now that many people shop on Amazon, business at traditional anchor stores like Sears and Macy’s have fallen off. Apple stores, on the other hand, have started driving so much traffic that having one can increase overall mall sales by up to 10%, according to Business Insider. Of course, anchor tenants have used their clout to demand discounts on rent. Non-anchor tenants often pay %15 of sales per square foot, while anchor stores can pay as little as %2. This means that for a commercial property owner or manager, determining who is or isn’t an anchor tenant is crucial in negotiating rents and determining which stores are most important to retain.

 So how can property managers determine which store is an anchor tenant? It’s more than just looking at their sales receipts. Plenty of stores can see reasonable surges in traffic and sales as nearby foot traffic wanders in and buys something, but that can’t tell us who made a determined effort just to come to the mall for THAT particular store. A better metric? Combining sales volume with parking occupancy. Parking occupancy tells you when people actually drove to this mall, with a car to store lots of purchases in. Turnover and duration of stay let you know how long shoppers lingered. With smart parking solutions like Streetline’s ParkSight Analytics, a clever property manager can look for surges and patterns in parking occupancy and duration, and measure them against sales in their shopping center during that same period. Of course, all shops are going to see more sales when the mall is fuller of customers, but the sales volume of the anchor tenant should correlate most closely with decreased parking occupancy. And that correlation tells the Mall owner which tenant needs to be kept happy, and which ones can take it or leave it.