As previously mentioned, the standard American mall went through various changes during the 1980s, with a marked shift toward more upscale tenantry. As some malls began to decline in the 1990s, a new manifestation of retail was emerging. Known as the "lifestyle center", it had first appeared in the spring of 1987, under the auspices of Greater Memphis' SHOPS OF SADDLE CREEK
The lifestyle center dispensed with the fully-enclosed, weather-protected ("perpetual springtime") mall concept that had been popularized during the 1960s and '70s. Lifestyle centers were open-air, much smaller in scale and fully upscale. The "huge shopping center in the middle of a sea of parking" model from the mid-20th century was now obsolete...or so it was told.
The "new and improved" shopping complex -the lifestyle center- had a substantially smaller footprint than a standard mall and was configured so shoppers could (supposedly) park directly in front of a particular store. Heaven help it if one had to actually walk any distance while shopping!
In the brave new -new millennium- world, nobody had the time to walk, peruse or people watch, as they would have done years before. Now it was rush, rush, rush! In other words, get in the store, buy whatever and hurry off to some other appointment or obligation, all the while driving and chatting (simultaneously) on a cell phone.
Due to its compact footprint and lack of a heated and cooled common area, the lifestyle center cost less to build and operate. It supposedly produced higher sales per square foot figures than the traditional mall...although one wouldn't be able to tell by the prices of the merchandise!