Planned shopping mall concept was developed by Victor Gruen in 1950s. It was then only realised that the success of the mall will depend on the number and kind of large stores which will set-up their business in there. Such stores will ultimately define the financial stability of the mall as it acts as the major crowd pullers.
An Anchor Tenant, anchor store, draw tenant or key tenant is the major departmental store in the mall which becomes the reason for people to visit the mall. As the anchor store pulls the maximum traffic it is also called as the magnet store. The concept of malls caught up in Indian markets in the last decade. India now has over 300 malls, but it is only a few of them which are running successfully. As per a report by CBRE South Asia Private Limited, the rate of success is more dependent on the anchor tenant mix than the location or size. The anchor tenants usually have their rents discounted and may also be offered cash benefits by the mall to remain in the mall or may also be offered a share in profits. Also, within a mall such stores are widely spaced to make other stores visible by getting suitable exposure as the shoppers move from one anchor to another. Mostly it is the presence of an anchor store in the vicinity that drives the traffic for satellite stores. Thus, anchor tenants are given the right to dictate the choice of satellite stores around it. This is done to not let any satellite store to open shop whose core philosophy is juxtaposed with that of the anchor.
The International Council for Shopping Centers has outlined the presence of anchors as the main characters for two kinds of malls classified on the basis of their area-regional center mall and superregional center mall. The former has only 2 or more anchors while the latter have 3 or more.
Another popular term is Shadow Anchor which means a small shopping complex gains from the presence of a magnet store in close vicinity or just next door.