An anchor store is a large retail store, typically located in a shopping center or mall, that drives consumers to other smaller businesses in that same location.
Any shopping center, strip mall, or shopping mall includes several different types of organizations, including kiosks, small retail shops, and large anchor stores. An anchor store is a large retailer — typically a department store — that brings the majority of consumer traffic into the mall. They’re critical for the mall ecosystem, as they tend to drive consumers to smaller retailers nearby, who then circulate to other retailers within the mall.
When creating a mall-type setting, most developers will start by establishing an anchor store as the central hub for the mall. From there, they’ll determine the right number and mix of smaller retailers with similar shopping demographics.
An anchor store typically offers a variety of products, helping them appeal to a large audience of shoppers who then explore other retailers nearby. Anchor stores also tend to market heavily, which further drives mall traffic.