Building retail tenant trust: Neighbourhood versus regional shopping centres

Jane Roberts, Bill Merrilees*, Carmel Herington, Dale Miller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Trust is the basis of business relationships. The purpose of this paper is to explore the antecedents of trust in the context of the relationship between shopping centre management and retail tenants, primarily from the retailer perspective, as a first test of trust in such business-to-business relationships. A contrast is made between neighbourhood and regional centres to determine if centre size affects trust development. Design/methodology/approach: Quantitative research methods are used. The focus is a sample of 201 retail tenants in Australian shopping centres. Psychometric properties were assessed for all multi-item scales used to capture variables of interest. Multiple regression analysis is used to explain trust in terms of five key influences: power of the centre manager (as a negative relationship), empowerment of the retailer, flexibility, responsiveness and the shopping centre brand. Findings: Empowerment, restraint of power and responsiveness are the main determinants of trust. Power is especially critical in regional shopping centres. The shopping centre brand and flexibility play important support roles in neighbourhood centres. Research limitations/implications: The lack of comparable studies limits the generalizability of the results to other countries. Practical implications: Centre managers, in larger planned shopping centres, who want greater retail tenant trust, should not demonstrate their power overtly in, say, rent negotiations. They could also learn from small centres about being flexible and projecting a more unified centre brand. Originality/value: This empirical study probes the antecedents of trust in Australian shopping centres, a previously neglected area in the shopping centre literature. The paper is unique because it contrasts neighbourhood and regional shopping centres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)597-612
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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