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A tenant‐mix model for shopping malls

Chung Yim Yiu (Department of Real Estate and Construction, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR)
Sherry Y.S. Xu (Department of Real Estate and Construction, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, SAR)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 30 March 2012




The purpose of this paper is to develop a novel tenant mix model for shopping malls based on an analogy from ecological theories.


This study empirically investigates the tenant species‐area relationship and tenant species‐abundance distribution in shopping malls. In this study, the tests on species‐area relationship and species‐abundance distribution in shopping malls are derived from ecological theories. Empirical tests by a sample of 18 shopping malls for the species‐area relationship and of five malls for the species‐abundance distribution are carried out in Hong Kong


It shows that, in line with the findings of biogeography, the tenant species‐area relationship follows a power law of exponent of about 0.20. Furthermore, the species‐abundance distributions of the five large‐scale malls are found to be closely in track with a geometric distribution as commonly found in ecology. These results imply that tenant mix strategies are governed by two principles: the number of tenant species is related to the mall size; and the shop area allocation follows a geometric distribution.

Research limitations/implications

The study provides the first quantitative tenant mix model on the number of tenant species in a particular mall size, and on the tenant species abundance distribution pattern. These results provide far‐reaching implications for research and practice, including a quantitative benchmarking of tenant mix strategy and an optimal design of shopping malls.

Practical implications

The model is the first tenant mix model for practitioners to formulate quantitative tenant mix strategy, and evaluate the effects of tenant mix on the performance of a shopping mall.


It is the first quantitative model for tenant mix, and would open up a novel agenda for research on tenant mix strategies.



Yim Yiu, C. and Xu, S.Y.S. (2012), "A tenant‐mix model for shopping malls", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 46 No. 3/4, pp. 524-541.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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