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The Rise of the College Campus Shopping Center

Universities and college campuses are building shopping centers on location to solve a long-plagued problem: not having enough places on campus for students to spend their money.

Retail stores are finding new ways of thriving by targeting a younger crowd in unique shopping center locations.

Companies like Trader Joe’s, Target, Publix, and Urban Outfitters are among those combining education with retail ‘therapy.’

Target boasts 100 small-format stores across the country – on college campuses and in urban neighborhoods. Their plan is to add 30 more each year for the next few years.

Students enter a new stage in life when they venture off to college or university. Most likely for the first time in their adult lives, they’re shopping independently and making purchasing decisions about a wide variety of items, including food.

It’s no surprise that each store is designed for quick and convenient trips, offering affordable products geared towards college students.

College campus retailers and small-format stores have to know their guests inside out for success. Students have unique needs and thrive on convenience, especially with their busy class and study schedules.

On-campus shopping centers offer many benefits for students and may have a competitive advantage. Students have the choice to achieve higher education in a location where shopping choices are limited, or attend a university that has a vibrant retail strip that offers convenience.

On-campus shopping allows retail stores to condition students for lifelong shopping loyalty while universities and colleges are leveraging leasing and marketing opportunities to keep the university profitable.


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