Shopping centers are relying less and less on traditional anchors, such as department stores.  The latest trend is to use restaurants, grocery stores, and movie theaters.

We have seen the popularity of the open-air malls, such as Short Pump Town Center and Stony Point Fashion Park.  The traditional malls have taken hits not only from these new formats, but also from discount super-retailers like Walmart and Target.

Shopping habits have changed, undeniably.

The Washington Post this past Sunday had an article that went into this issue in depth.  Here is an excerpt that I thought was particularly insightful:

Restaurant-anchored developments may also attract wealthier shoppers. According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, people who ate at full-service restaurants four or more times per month were more likely than the average adult to shop at department and specialty stores and less likely to shop at discount stores. Their average income was $65,483, compared with an overall average of $52,300 for those surveyed.

Traditional malls, meanwhile, are grappling with tepid department-store sales and closings. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, same-store sales at department stores were up just 1 percent in February, the last month for which data were available.