The Airport Mall was anchored by a Walmart

jacdac

Senior Member
Lebanese
The Airport Mall is just up the road from the motel. It’s anchored by a Walmart even bigger than the one in Midwood.
source: Billy Summers by Stephen King

What is the meaning of anchor as used in this the excerpt?

Thank you.
 
  • SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    Last edited:

    anthox

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    King means to imply that the Walmart is part of the Airport Mall, and is so big as to be like an "anchor" holding the building down.

    Edit: Pete's explanation is better, I'd never heard of an "anchor store" and so suspected King was being more metaphorical than he actually was.
     
    Last edited:

    SwissPete

    Senior Member
    Français (CH), AE (California)
    It is not unusual, but the WR dictionary makes no mention of it in this context.

    Here is a Wikipedia article on this topic: Anchor tenant - Wikipedia

    In retail, an "anchor tenant", sometimes called an "anchor store", "draw tenant", or "key tenant", is a considerably larger tenant in a shopping mall, often a department store or retail chain. With their broad appeal, they are intended to attract a significant cross-section of the shopping public to the center. They are often offered steep discounts on rent in exchange for signing long-term leases in order to provide steady cash flows for the mall owners. Some examples of anchor stores in the United States are Macy's, Sears, JCPenney, and Nordstrom.
     

    dojibear

    Senior Member
    US English
    The term "anchor store" is familiar to me. A typical mall has one to four large anchor stores, and many smaller stores. For example, the indoor mall near me (Fashion Fair Mall, in Fresno) has 140 individual stores in it. The 4 large ("anchor") stores are J.C.Penney, Macy's, Forever21 and Macy's Backstage. The other stores are smaller.

    The Airport Mall is just up the road from the motel. It’s anchored by a Walmart even bigger than the one in Midwood.
    This mall includes one very large store (a Walmart), and several small stores.
     

    Mrs JJJ

    Senior Member
    USA
    English (British)
    Yes, the term “anchor store” is a popular one. In this context, I think one hears the term “anchor store” far more often than some form of the verb “anchor”, as has been used in the sentence quoted here.

    As was explained in SwissPete’s post, the large anchor stores are those that attract customers to a shopping mall. Imagine that the shopping mall is a ship: the large stores are the anchors that stop the mall from sailing away and disappearing. So if one of the anchor stores closes, it can be a big problem for a mall, as it will be less attractive to customers. Unfortunately, with the increasing popularity of online shopping, this seems to be happening more and more frequently.

    Another useful word in the retail context is footfall. When a shopping mall has too few customers and needs to attract more people, reports will say that it needs to increase footfall.
     
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