The sustainability of cities highly depends on city center viability and shopping street resilience. With the increasing number of shopping centers and their strong impact on existing retail systems, the major urban challenge has become maintaining a balance in the market. When shopping centers appeared, shopping streets began suffering from the negative influence of these new centers. Turkey, as a developing country, suffered from this change in last two decades. With the shopping center supporting policies and regulations of both central and local governments, the situation has become worse, and detrimental to small, independent retailers located on shopping streets. The controlled, trendy and convenient shopping environment, variety, quality and pricing of goods and services have attracted customers to shopping centers. This has been a revisited topic in the planning literature and the common statement was that the emergence of shopping centers abates the viability of city centers and shopping streets. However, in time, the shopping streets have adapted to the changes, thus become more resilient to the negative impacts of shopping centers. The current planning literature has been limited to the analysis of either shopping center systems, or shopping streets. In contrast to this approach, in this study, we are analyzing both retail venues, and comparing their consumer profiles, preferences and spatial behaviors: The purpose is to exhibit the strengths and weaknesses of shopping centers and shopping streets, and identify the qualifications attractive to their customers. This will provide an opportunity for urban policy makers to redefine a retail policy framework which will contribute to shopping street resilience and city center viability. Ankara is selected for two reasons: (1) as of 2011, the shopping center gross leasable area per 1000 people was the highest in Turkey, (2) the city center is still vivid, and shopping street retailers continue to survive amid the high level of shopping center floor space. Two separate questionnaires were given in 13 shopping centers, and 11 main shopping streets in Ankara. The findings reveal that: (1) shopping centers are used by consumers from all districts, in particular, from suburban districts, and shopping streets are mainly used by consumers living in inner city districts, (2) the consumer profiles of shopping centers and shopping streets are distinctive in terms of age, occupation and education, (3) shopping centers are usually preferred by car owners, which encourages development of new shopping centers at the urban fringe, (4) shopping centers and shopping streets are preferred for similar purposes, and shopping streets, in particular, are preferred for entertainment. Therefore, the major conclusion is that the shopping streets in Ankara have a certain level of resilience in terms of consumer diversity, retailer variety, quality and complementary degree. This level can be further increased by new retail planning policies that will focus on attracting consumers from different backgrounds, offering a conducive business environment for special brands, and initiating new revitalization plans and programs for maintenance and design of city centers. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.