Retailing Environments in Developing Countries

By Allan M. Findlay; Ronan Paddison et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter six

New trends in commercial locations in Morocco

Jean-François Troin

In Morocco, as elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, the division between traditional and modern retailing has been too readily accepted as meaningful. Just as agriculture and industry have been divided between traditional and modern sectors, so retailing appeared to be similarly dualistic. Overlooking the arguments as to whether retailing ever fitted neatly into the two categories, the classification is no longer valid within present-day Morocco. In effect, there is increasing functional interaction between the commercial sectors usually considered 'traditional' and 'modern' resulting from several major trends-the progressive urbanisation of rural marketing; an expansion of new types of commercial centres into the countryside as well as in the urban areas; the upgrading of retail centres and a specialisation in the types of urban trade. Collectively these trends have resulted in considerable changes in retailing institutions, blurring the distinctions commonly made between urban and rural, traditional and modern, and, formal and informal types of retailing.

This chapter analyses these major changes in Moroccan retailing, indicating the different trends in both rural and urban areas. Changes in both have been striking. In the rural areas urban marketing influences have become increasingly prevalent. In the urban areas retailing has become both more segregated and hierarchically structured, trends for which the discussion seeks causes along with an explanation of the possible consequences of such changes for the city itself.


Changing patterns of rural and urban commerce

Before looking at the changes occurring within rural retailing it is useful to recall the traditional pattern of retailing. Throughout Morocco this was dominated by the weekly market (Troin 1975). The network of periodic markets, on average 10 kilometres apart, met the basic needs of the rural consumer. Equally, they acted as the basic collection points for the rural surplus, and as the loci through which a limited range of urban

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