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back to article UK malls use Google in desperate stab at luring shoppers off the web

The UK's largest commercial property company Land Securities has signed a deal with Google to try to stem the flow of shoppers from its managed malls. Land Securities manages more than 29 million square feet of property - including 17 shopping centres across Britain that, like most retail outlets, are suffering from the rising …

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Bye bye...

Shopping malls and the like are probably not going to last much longer in my opinion - I've been wandering round Princes Street and the environs today looking for shirts - grandad shirts to be precise, out of fashion, but I like them. Not one to be found in Frasers, Debenhams, Marks+Spencer, Jenners, John Lewis (and the rest of the St James Center), Harvey Nicks - and a bunch of smaller boutiques. On the internet, a quick search and a positive plethora. The bricks and mortar shops cannot offer the range that the internet offers - okay, conversely, I can't try things on on the Internet, but DSR makes returning things far easier, and less embarassing, than physical retail outlets.

They'll need to come up with a new models, new services and new ideas to really tempt folk back, this is Canute and the tide.

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Meh

To survive

1.Landlords must address the fact that they charge over the odd and reduce business rental costs

2.Councils must reduce the unreasonable business rate charges

3.Utility Companies must offer reduced charges for businesses

This will allow shops to become more competitive.

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Anonymous Coward

The number of times I have walked into a shop seen an item on display and was then told the item is not in stock has left me frustrated.

Instead I can view the item, order it over the Internet and it is delivered the next day, with the bonus that it cost me less.

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Unhappy

Re: To survive

None of which will happen ...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: To survive

We could pay their staff wages and christmas bonus. Come to think of it we could just pay them and not bother with any goods - good grief !

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Thumb Up

Re: Bye bye...

It's kinda karma- malls put the high street shops out of business and now the internet is doing the same to them.

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Re: To survive

@LarsG

This is the reality; there is no 'death of the High Street', only a failure to adapt quickly enough.

Thriving High Streets, filled with independents? We can but dream.

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Silver badge

Re: Bye bye...

> I've been wandering round Princes Street and the environs today looking for shirts

Yeah, I find this: If I want a plain coloured T-shirt, all the high street shops have the same sickly yet fashionable colours. They all stock casual trousers of the same ill-fitting fashionable cut.

> but DSR makes returning things far easier

I had a mate who was in the market for a very high res 27" monitor... if he went to the shop that day and later discovered it had one dead pixel he wouldn't be able to return it- since just one dead pixel isn't considered a fault. If he bought it online from the same shop and had it delivered, he would be able to return for any reason he chose.

Waterstones have also lost out on my custom. They had a new hardback book at an introductory price of £15 whioch I would have paid, but that had ended, and their store now wanted £19 for it. Their website only wanted £15, but since they'd encouraged me to go online I got it for £12 from somebody else.

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Re: To survive

"3.Utility Companies must offer reduced charges for businesses"

Hollister has this one sorted, now they just need to have torches by the front door that you have to pay for so you can see what your buying.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Bye bye...

Both COS and Uniqlo have grandad shirts in some shape for form, by the way.

(Both are present in my local soulless mega-mall, which is always bloody packed, and annoying, but has pretty much all the local sammich outlets)

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Re: To survive

Having seen some of the stuff* in Hollister I believe the motivation for "subdued" lighting is not the utility charges!

* Opinions may vary; its just not to my taste.

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Re: Bye bye...

I sympathise. I can never find anything I like in the local stores but.....

After a quick web search I found 11 collar styles*. If a shop were to stock 1 of each in the most popular sizes (14.5" to 20", a dozen in all) they'd need to find room for 132 shirts. God help you if you don't want a white one. Or short sleeves.

Just what do you suggest the general department stores do? It's easy to say "come up with a new models, new services and new ideas" but apart from 'stock more grandad shirts' what?

* point, narrow, saint tropez, spread, button-down, round, pin, tab, wing-tip, mandarin, nehru. There may be more.

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Facepalm

Re: To survive

1.Landlords must address the fact that they charge over the odd and reduce business rental costs

2.Councils must reduce the unreasonable business rate charges

3.Utility Companies must offer reduced charges for businesses

This will allow shops to become more competitive.

Yeah, that'll happen the same day...

...Councils reduce their unreasonable council tax rates on private homes.

...Utility companies reduce their charges to me, the hard-pressed consumer.

In short, don't hold your breath.

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FAIL

Blockbusters closing all stores?!?

Ummm... Blockbusters are only closing 160 stores - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21099741

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Devil

Re: Blockbusters closing all stores?!?

For now

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Stop

An example of why the High Street / Malls are dying

On Sunday night.

I ordered 2 books.

Transferred money into my kids savings accounts.

Booked a weekend break for the family

Ordered a part for a washing machine.

Or I could of....

Waited to Monday lunchtime go to a repair shop for the washing machine part (who would of ordered it from that same company)

On Tuesday lunchtime go to a branch to transfer money.

On Wednesday lunchtime booked the holiday.

On Saturday bought the books (provided they were in stock)

A week later, pick up half the stuff I couldn't get the first week.

All of which would of cost me twice the price.

This is the real reason it's keeling over, not the lack of stupid free wifi offers.

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FAIL

Re: An example of why the High Street / Malls are dying

High parking charges don't help. Our local post office is on the high street and the local authority have thought it a good idea to have a 60p parking charge for 30 minutes. Better to drive out of town where the parking is free.

NEED to go to our local post office at lunchtime? Better stump up £1.20 for 1 hour parking in case the queues at the post office are lengthy .... because some bright spark allows half of the cashiers to go to lunch. AT LUNCHTIME. See also the banks and building societies.

Lack of joined up thinking will kill town centre retail.

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Re: An example of why the High Street / Malls are dying

"High parking charges don't help."

I remember the flap that broke out back in 2000 or so, when it was discovered that the Park & Ride car parks at the edges of Oxford were more expensive to use than the city centre car park! And they were pay-and-display, meaning you had to over-pay in order to avoid not buying enough time, while the central car park was pay-for-the-time-used-on-exit. And P&R meant also paying to ride the bus in to the centre.

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Re: An example of why the High Street / Malls are dying

So with all that time you'll be able to Google how to speak English properly.

- "Or I could of" should be "Or I could HAVE"

- "All of which would of cost me..." to "All of which would HAVE cost me..."

You just got another freebie!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: An example of why the High Street / Malls are dying

Oxford P&Rs have always been expensive (but then isn't EVERYTHING in Oxford?!).

The P&R in Preston is free, and the bus is a flat £1.20 return. Of course if you're fit enough you can park for free and walk the 10 minutes in to town...

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FAIL

Re: An example of why the High Street / Malls are dying

"Of course if you're fit enough you can park for free and walk the 10 minutes in to town"

And, after schlepping into town, having a schlep round town you then have to schlep back to the P&R with half a dozen weighty carrier bags? In Preston so 85% chance that'll be in the rain. Add hills, muggers and smack dealers for comedy.

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Happy

Oxford vs Cambridge

Cambridge P&R is free parking, flat rate bus which is pretty good (unless you lose your ticket - I'm looking at you, other half). Certainly compared with Cambridge parking charges which are MENTAL.

And don't get me started on the Grand Arcade. What a waste of money - full of astronomically expensive clothes shops, jewellers and phone shops. Although the toilets are nice.

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Meh

Re: Oxford vs Cambridge

Not so sure I agree with you on the Cambridge P&R. By the time you have a couple people in the car you can get almost half a day of parking at say Queen Anne or Park St car parks for the same price, and you've saved up to an hour each way (ask my other half!) on the bus.

And the Longstanton P&R is just confusing as it depends which bus operator you use as to the cost of a ticket into town, and they're not transferable between the two.

Grand Arcade - OK, enough said there!

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Coat

A state of equilibrium will be reached...

... for example, I prefer to select the food I buy myself, not take the first bunch of rotten tomatoes the Tescos PFY has slapped on a trolley for delivery.

I also prefer to shop for clothes in a store - if something doesn't fit, I simply take it to the counter and get the next size up (or down... yeah right, I wish!), rather than have to go through all the aggro of wrapping it all back up and returning it for a replacement to arrive two days later.

Then there's all the headaches of delivery times - I do not have a car (taxed off the road), so work means I'm out 6:30am to 7:00pm, Mon to Fri. Most things I can get delivered to work, but big stuff - DIY materials, for instance - I prefer to go to the store of a weekend, hire a van and bring what I need home.

But the whole concept of the shopping centre (mall is so Septic) is outdated. It's not even like gangs of yobs need to go there to hang out - not now they have BBM and Facebook...

... I'll get me coat. The one I hand picked in a store that fits me perfectly.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A state of equilibrium will be reached...

There is a limit, you're right. Having to pay to ship back clothing that doesn't fit can negate savings of both time and money- and sometimes it's nice to know what the finish and feel is like. Of course, there's also "ROBOshopping"- a horrible consultantspeak term for researching offline and buying online.

I'm somewhere in the middle for now, I order lots of crap online, but do like to pick out a lot of clothes offline, and also to make small, regular trips to food shops to pick up fresh perishable food. Making the minimum order amount for an online supermarket is sometimes troublesome. Also troublesome is the risible unreliability of Amazon's "guaranteed" next day delivery on Prime- which has failed seventeen out of the last twenty times for me, the courier simply not turning up at all (and often lying about it).

I think people preaching either absolute are being too simplistic, and thus are wrong.

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Devil

Re: A state of equilibrium will be reached...

It's strange. I always get the prime goods from my grocery delivery...because despite what many people think they don't send some yoof with a shopping trolley around to get your shopping. In many cases, and I know my local area is like this, the goods actually come from the pre-shop 'warehouse'...ie the depot which delivers products to the stores for sale. I discovered this when they cancelled my delivery thanks to the snow - which although irritated I couldn't blame them.

Not to mention that I just took a delivery of £250 worth of items, and it took me 10 minutes to get it from my front door to my cupboards - if I'd shopped that much in person it would've taken me hours and I'd have been miserable, cold and wet by the end of it - instead, after 15 minutes I was feet up at my PC nomming away at delicious delivered goodies.

Clothes shops only have themselves to blame. I can't speak for everyone, but as a man I've always felt self-conscious and wary in clothes stores. I never find the size I need, and having some over-cool chap of whom you can barely understand the accent or some who-gives-a-crap teen girl who eyes you as you wander anywhere near the changing rooms has always driven me away. Strangely enough, everything clothes-wise I've ever bought online has always been perfect to my order. Haven't had to wander around breathing in wads of dust looking through 15 sizes that don't fit...marvellous.

Parking is always a nightmare, shops don't believe in service and even now STILL treat customers like potential criminals or nuisances, shopping centres are awkward to navigate, stock is rarely in for the stuff you actually want, and the sheer time it takes up and lack of choice makes shops a poor second choice.

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Meh

Re: A state of equilibrium will be reached...

Atonnis - How long did the actual ordering stage take though? That was the downfall of online grocery shopping for me, it took too long to page through and select everything I wanted, even using the search only gets you so far. Unless you're ordering the exact same things week in and week out, or you don't care about comparing the prices between brands it's a painfully slow process. In the real world I can go down a supermarket aisle, grabbing what I want, assessing offers in seconds and be at the till with a full trolley in no time at all. In fact as it turned out I could drive to the supermarket, make my purchases and return home in a little over half the time it was taking just to _place_ the order online, never mind the wait for delivery.

Quite often I would find I had lost my delivery slot because it had taken so long! Instead of getting delivery on the day I wanted, I would have to wait another 24 hours. I would end up going to the supermarket anyway to buy bread and milk, it was pretty ridiculous.

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Re: A state of equilibrium will be reached...

> How long did the actual ordering stage take though?

I've only used Tesco so I can't comment on the others, but I'm usually through the entire process in 15m. These are big monthly-shop type orders, I don't waste the delivery charge on 5-10 items.

If you always order the same things (same type of loaf, butter, cheese etc) all the things you ordered last time will be in your Favourites. 99% of what I get is from Favourites. It also hooks into your Clubcard, so anything you got in-store on the same clubcard will also be in your favourites - a regular job for me is clearing out sandwiches etc. from my Favourites.

Tesco also has a shopping list function, where you put the list of what you want in (e.g. bleach, toothpaste, butter) and it returns a filtered list of products that match the list.

> In fact as it turned out I could drive to the supermarket, make my purchases and return home in a little

> over half the time it was taking just to _place_ the order online, never mind the wait for delivery

Really? Not even close for me. Even at 07:30 on a Saturday with no traffic it takes me 10m to drive to Tesco, maybe 10m wandering round, 5m for the self-checkout and 10m back home again.

If you're losing your slot (Tesco reserves them for 2 hours) there's something wrong somewhere.

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Anonymous Coward

They've obviously not used the product search

It's crap - the results are full of dodgy sellers

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Unhappy

It's become a vicious spiral ...

fewer customers means less need to stock so much which means less stock which means less chance of any customer finding anything. The recent Page family experience of "going [clothes] shopping" is to find a nice whatever, then realise they don't have our size, go and ask to be told "if it's not on the rack, we have to order it". Or the even more annoying "Have you tried our [miles away] branch ?". As if we *want* to drive all over the place.

If they have to order it, we may have well ordered it online (remember folks DSR gives you 7 days to return) since we don't "go shopping" every week.

For those that like to pick their meat/veg, then we have found that online ordering of sundries leaves us *more* time to visit local farm shops and butchers. Win/win.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's become a vicious spiral ...

Yeah, I'm a funny shape (190 cm and 85kg, with overly long limbs and stupid big feet), and often find that stock in my size is VERY limited in most high street stores, often if the one item in my size has been bought, it doesn't get replaced automatically, "but we can order it for you". Obviously, I go away and buy elsewhere, and their sales metrics tell them that the sizes that they don't stock properly sell dreadfully.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's become a vicious spiral ...

"Yeah, I'm a funny shape (190 cm and 85kg, with overly long limbs and stupid big feet), "

And now you're also a hostage to fortune, in the shape of unhelpful commentards looking to assign you to a different species. Like me, suggesting that you're the BFG...

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Free WiFi?

Tends to be some cumbersome thing that we need to sign up for and give all sorts of personal data in return. No to mention the need to login every time you want to use it. No, thanks. My DC-HSPA enabled mobile phone can do anything public WiFi can do. Usually better and with less hassle.

Free parking, as mentioned earlier, would be far more enticing.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Free WiFi?

"Tends to be some cumbersome thing that we need to sign up for and give all sorts of personal data in return. "

I cannot speak for the UK, but here in the US, Simon properties has free WiFi at many of their malls, and it's just the standard "redirect you to a captive page wherein you promise not to hold us responsible for bad stuff and not to do bad stuff with our WiFi, mKay? [x]" and off you go.

But yes, the absence of connectivity isn't what keeps me out of the mall, it's the chavs (or whatever your local slang is), and the lack of having the size/color/type of thing I want.

And it does seem to me that giving free net access will NOT reduce the numbers of annoying carbon units.

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Thumb Down

Re: Free WiFi?

Giving free net access would increase the gangs of annoying/threatening teenagers in my opinion... They'll be able to hang out there all day and still be connected to the various social media sites.

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Re: Free WiFi?

If it's provided by "The Cloud" - forget it. My local pub has it and it takes so long to fill in the login form with my usual wrong information that it's not worth it. You also need to do this every time you visit. I just turn Wi-Fi off and use my 3G data instead.

Phil.

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Re: Free WiFi?

"If it's provided by "The Cloud" - forget it. My local pub has it and it takes so long to fill in the login form with my usual wrong information that it's not worth it. You also need to do this every time you visit. I just turn Wi-Fi off and use my 3G data instead."

Use opera mini, the one that prerenders the pages on operas servers, last time i tried at a local mcdonalds, it bypassed all the sign in crap and just connected. I suppose the cloud`s servers look for something in the http protocol that operas vpn sneaks past. It doesnt work on all cloud hotspots though, i wonder if there are a few different versions of the gateway software on the retailers end and some havn`t upgraded?

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Re: Free WiFi?

> You also need to do this every time you visit. [The Cloud signup]

You shouldn't need to sign-up every time, once you've created the account you just need the email address and password to log on. An Android device will remember this for you too, can't remember whether iOS does.

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Silver badge

It would help

If there were actually shops in malls I wanted to go to. I have enough clothes thanks, and that's all there seem to be nowadays. That and charity shops, hairdressers and coffee shops. The other half does my hair and I don't like coffee. That just leaves charity. Whoopeee!

I will however, make a special trip to Machine Mart if I need man things.

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Happy

Re: It would help

Ah, you need to come to the mall nearest to where I live. It is just outside Lille Europe station, where the Eurostars stop, so it's actually handy for Brits. The newest shop to open there sells Lego, Lego, and Lego. And yes, it has Mindstorms.

And you can buy a limited selection of DIY stuff in Carrefour, along with hydrochloric acid, ammonia, and a slightly freaky selection of other hazchem.

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They switch to monser stores

With a load of part time minimum wage staff that don't know anything.

They have killed all the small stores with proper staff with cheaper prices.

Now there is no reason not to just buy online.

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Anonymous Coward

A shop on a high street is adding VAT at 20% and has to cover city centre business rates and corporation tax. An internet-based service can treat any of these taxes as pretty much optional.

For instance: IRRC Luxembourg allows Amazon to charge only 3% VAT - and Play.com stopped selling CDs the moment a VAT loophole was closed - http://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/showthread.php?t=4394851

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Paris Hilton

When did...

Shopping centres become 'malls' is this another sympton of the American disease?

Paris because... well shopping obviously :)

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Happy

Re: When did...

Oh Hi MOM, whateva?

etc.

"Mall" is an awful name.....

I only shop online because EVERYTHING is so far away... as in light years away....

And for something's it's great, but for somethings, local in a real shop is best.

I think attitudes and service and general sanity really promote business.

While the race to the bottom is generally not a good thing, when service and warranty and spares and an attitude of ignorant stupidity passing it's self off as the standard for service, then it's back to the best prices, and warranty and service online.

Having been to the "mens" department in Big W (older woolworths), where the ONLY person working there, is a 16 year old girl (Yay?) who not only has she NOT been trained to measure up a customer, she does not even know what a fucking tape measure is.....

Apparently the management's ide of training is to give her a box of socks and jocks and say, "Fill them racks".

And when the concept of TAPE and MEASURE, and that it is a long ruler, marked out on a white cloth tape - is illustrated to her - the simple concepts don't even sink in....

Fuck Big W - buy my own tape measure and or go to a REAL mens shop....where they have REAL men to do the inside leg without going into a catatonic state....

To be fair though, I have met OLDER women who have had a heap of kids, and they look you up and down and say, "Hmmm your about a size 32."

So all is not lost.

But yeah the SHOPPING CENTERS offering FREE WI-FI....

Of course it's limited, conditional, rules, regulations, etc., etc.,

I always thought WI-FI was only good at the coffee shop - while stopping for a break when travelling.

But at the MALL? OMG? Must go hang out there.

There have been many GOOD reasons put forward in previous posts why people shop when and where they do, in the end the equation comes down too meeting the customers needs, in terms of service, time, price, distance etc.

It's like the idiots in Australia Post, I pay for packages to be delivered to my address, and they send it to the post office in town, where I am expected to go into town, to sign for it, and then come back home - well that is half an hour of my time, and that costs me, and I paid for it to be delivered to me, to my address, not the post office.

Huge fight of Me Vs. The Ministry of Shit Service.

It's being picked up, from the post office, and getting delivered to my place, on your time, with your driver.

Not the other way around.

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Re: When did...

"Shopping centres become 'malls' is this another sympton of the American disease?"

Probably the same time chips became fries and films became movies.

And yes, it makes me cringe and shake my fist at the god of Englishness for failing me and letting ghastly deeds like this go unpunished.

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free wifi? so i can browse and then buy online? how decent of you.

morons.

as has been said. cheaper prices or failing that better service. free parking wouldnt go amiss as well.

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Silver badge
Holmes

Shopping Malls are NOT targetted at Men

unless you are one of those that like to dress in womens clothing?

Just look at the number of shops that selll stuff aimed mainly at women and then compare it to the number targetted at men. Guess who comes out worse?

However that probably reflects the notion that men hate shopping. They don't hate shopping but they don't find anything of relevance on the high st or in the mall. Shops that sells stuff we are interested in (viz boys toys etc) are... well located in different areas.

So we have the malls trying to lure more women who make up 51% of the population. And this is somehow news?

Meh. (as they say on /., film at 11)

Now if there was a mall that sold only 'boys toys' then I'd (and many others here) would be very interested.

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Trollface

Re: Shopping Malls are NOT targetted at Men

"unless you are one of those that like to dress in womens clothing?"

"Shops that sells stuff we are interested in (viz boys toys etc)

I believe that shop is already in shopping/town centres; Its called Ann Summers! :D

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