Big-box store is a term that refers to a style of physically large chain store, and by extension to the company behind the store. The terms superstore, megastore, and supercenter also refer to these retail establishments.
This design provides space for a large amount of merchandise and serves as an enormous billboard to attract customers. It is particularly favored by volume discount retailers.
To contend against Carrefour, PARKnSHOP opened the first superstore in 1996. The concept of a wet market was applied to this store. The store emphasizes one-stop shopping. Today, PARKnSHOP has more than 50 superstores and megastores, making it the largest superstore network in Hong Kong. Relatively, the first Wellcome superstore was opened in 2000 and Welcome has only 17 superstores. CRC also has four superstores.
However, as Hong Kong is very densely populated, the sizes of superstores are relatively smaller than in other countries. Some superstores are running at a loss (such as Chelsea Heights) and therefore stopped selling fresh fish. Also, the superstores are often crowded and some PARKnSHOP superstores and megastores include Fortress World, which belongs to the same corporation, Hutchison Whampoa.
Across Britain and Ireland, large-scale shopping malls on the edges of towns and cities, containing "hypermarket" (e.g., large ASDA or Dunnes Stores) anchor stores are increasingly popular, since the 1980s in the UK and the early 1990s in Ireland.
The indigenous Loblaw Companies Limited has expanded and multiplied its Real Canadian Superstore (and Maxi & Cie in Quebec) branded outlets to try to fill any genuine big-box market and fend off the damaging competition that a large Wal-Mart penetration would inflict on Canadian-based retailers.
In the early 21st century, commercial developers in Canada chose to build big box stores (often grouped together in so-called "power centres") in lieu of traditional shopping malls. Examples include Deerfoot Meadows (Calgary), Stonegate (Saskatoon), and South Edmonton Common (Edmonton).
There are currently more than 300 power centres, which usually contain multiple big-box stores, located throughout Canada.
Usually associated with large chains such as Target and Wal-Mart, a superstore sells a wide range of products, from toys and electronics to clothing and groceries and even furniture, sporting goods and automotive supplies. These types of stores advertise "one stop shopping", where customers can stop just once at their store and buy everything they need or want. Most superstores are located on a single level, as opposed to many department stores which are often multi-leveled.
Meijer is generally credited with pioneering the superstore concept in the United States. The first Meijer Superstore opened in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1962 (In contrast, Wal-Mart didn't open its first Superstore until 1988).
Superstores should not be confused with warehouse club stores, such as Sam's Club, Costco, and BJ's Wholesale Club. While many superstores are as large as some warehouse stores, superstores do not require the customer to purchase large quantities of items. The superstores provide the bulk breaking that warehouse stores lack.
The term "superstore" is also used for some large specialist retailers, such as Home Depot which fills the gap of building supplies in other superstores by supplying just those items in their stores. Another example is Fry's Electronics which stocks mostly high technology/electronics items, with occasional house appliances.