Retail Anchor Tenants in Malls & Shopping Centres: Why They’re Important

myer werribee anchor tenant example

If you’re a business owner, you know that location is key and if you’re looking to open a store in a mall or shopping centre, it’s important to understand the role of anchor tenants. These tenants play an important role in shopping centres and are considered the heart of commercial projects. In this blog post, we’ll discuss why anchor tenants are so important, and we’ll take a look at some of the most popular anchor tenants.

What are anchor tenants, and why are they important?

Anchor tenants are vital to commercial property development. They are the largest and the most influential tenants in large shopping centres. They are typically the first to sign onto projects which gives them some influence in the overall development of the property. While they were typically large shopping centres, they are usually now dominated by the largest retail chains that are household names.

While the physical presence may be insignificant compared to the shopping centre as a whole, their impact is quite large. These commercial tenants tend to instil confidence in other smaller retail businesses, helping draw them into commercial developments. They also have typically larger pockets than the smaller retailers, making developers more attracted to these stable tenants.

The role of anchor tenants in attracting shoppers to a mall or shopping centre

Anchor tenants are important in attracting shoppers to a mall or shopping centre because these stores are well-known and have a loyal customer base. They draw in customers who spend money at other stores in the mall or shopping centre. This benefits the smaller stores, as they get exposure to a larger number of potential customers, increasing foot traffic and overall sales for the entire mall or shopping centre.

Anchor tenants also help to create a sense of vibrancy and activity at a mall or shopping centre. Their presence can make a mall or shopping centre more busy and exciting, encouraging more people to visit. This is especially important for malls or shopping centres in less densely populated areas. By having an anchor tenant, these types of malls or shopping centres can create a destination people are willing to travel to.

The largest anchor tenants in the US and Australia

Some of the most popular anchor tenants in the US include Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. The most popular anchor tenants in Australia include Woolworths, Coles, Kmart, Big W, Target and Myer.

Walmart is not only popular in the US but is one of the largest retailers in the world, with over 11,000 stores in 27 countries. In the US, it is the largest grocery store chain by sales. Target is the second-largest discount retailer, behind Walmart.

In Australia, Woolworths is the largest supermarket chain by sales. Coles is the second-largest supermarket chain in Australia. Bunnings Warehouse is the largest home improvement retailer in Australia. All these take significant market share in the Australian retail sectors.

These large tenants dominate the space in shopping malls, and you’ll likely see at least one at every shopping centre. They generally are large conglomerates that stock general items or essentials, making them a staple for keen shoppers.

The benefits of having an anchor tenant in your mall or shopping centre

There are many benefits to having an anchor tenant in your mall or shopping centre. As mentioned, they help to generate foot traffic and increase visibility. They also provide stability and can help to buffer against economic downturns due to their commercial influence. Additionally, having these large tenants can inspire redevelopment and regeneration by attracting people and investments into the area, making certain jurisdictions prime for growth.

With all of these benefits, it’s no wonder that malls and shopping centres worldwide are looking to attract top anchor tenants. For any large commercial development looking to expand, ensuring you have a strong anchor tenant is essential.


Overall, anchor tenants play a vital role in the success of a mall or shopping centre. They can help to increase foot traffic and business for surrounding businesses, create a sense of place and identity for an area, and provide stability during economic downturns. Next time you go shopping, pay attention to the anchor stores at your local shopping centre, you’ll likely find one at every large development.


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