Malls and power centers and strip malls are all devices that have evolved to different types and needs of shopping and the different types of stores that cater to those shoppers.
Malls are anchored by large department stores (although more big box stores can be found in them these days because of the consolidation of the department store industry due to falling sales). In between the department stores are stores… that contain the same goods as department stores. These are mostly shops that sell clothing, shoes, and accessories. It makes economic sense to bunch these together because people like to comparison shop and search through a number of places to find the exact items they want. It’s expected that they will buy items in one place and carry them to other stores to complete an outfit. This means that indoor, climate-controlled conditions with easy pedestrian access are the preferred shopping environment. Not every store in a mall falls into this category, but the general scheme applies. Malls are designed to keep shoppers there as long as possible as well, which is why they have food courts and other amusements to rest you, and the controlled climate to make the stay as pleasant as possible.
Power centers are anchored by stores that tend to be destinations in and of themselves and sell goods that are often large and bulky. Best Buy, Home Depot. Even the discounters like Target, Kohls or Wal-mart, which do much of their business in clothing, are set up for bulk purchasing of larger goods. It makes sense that you would want to take these purchases directly to a car rather than carry them on foot to another store. People do go there for small portable items, of course, but that’s not the core of their business and the power center parking lot is set up to make access to and cartage of items most convenient for their shopping core. The same applies to shopping centers anchored by supermarkets. You will get a series of stores that live off the traffic generated, but you don’t see people hauling their groceries into these stores to make additional purchases. It’s car-store-car-store-car.
Strip malls contain a smaller number of convenience stores. These are geared for quick in-and-out shopping and the size of the store and the size of the parking lot reflect this. It’s possible that you will want to hit a minimart, a video store, a dry cleaners, and a pizza place all in one visit, but it’s far more likely that you will stop at these stores individually on separate trips.
I’d guess that you don’t notice or complain about any inconvenience when you use these sites as a core customer. It’s only when you need to break out of that category that you realize they are not set up optimally for any other pattern. However, there is no known pattern that would be equally convenient for both types of shoppers. If there were, we’d see it.