Retail Change: Contemporary Issues

Retail Change: Contemporary Issues

Retail Change: Contemporary Issues

Retail Change: Contemporary Issues


The economic, social and environmental implications of recent changes in retailing constitute significant contemporary issues, which are the focus of this timely book. Retail change deals with the internationalization of retailing, the development of shopping centres in the city and at suburban sites, and the growth of leisure shopping. It provides an up-to-date review of the central questions faced by undergraduate students in planning, business studies and geography.


The retail environment of developed economies has undergone radical change. Retail companies have grown at an unprecedented scale and are increasingly becoming international corporations. Consumers have become more affluent and mobile, creating demands for ever more specialized goods and services from outlets in car-orientated locations. New retail forms have emerged, reflecting a response to these demands and to the changing requirements of retailers in the evolving business, fiscal and planning environment. the past twenty-five years have witnessed the emergence of the superstore, the retail warehouse, retail parks and the increasingly ubiquitous regional shopping centre. Planning has tried to direct the development of the new facilities, while attempting to minimize their negative impacts on the traditional retail hierarchy and, in particular, on the city centre. Concern for shopper safety is also exerting additional pressure on planners to design secure environments. the problems of the disadvantaged consumer in the context of the changing distribution of retail facilities; pressures on the workforce caused by changing working conditions and the extension of the trading week; and consumer demands for a “Green” dimension in contemporary marketing strategies have all emerged as key social issues in the process of change. the increasingly explicit definition of shopping as a leisure activity is also presenting new challenges for the retail sector. These issues are the focus of this book, which aims to provide a contemporary review of organizational, locational, planning and social perspectives on the process of retail change.

The stimulus for this book was the Institute of British Geographers' conference held in Swansea in 1992. Seven of the thirteen chapters are based on research originally presented at that conference. the others were specifically commissioned to cover the key issues of particular concern to geography, planning and other disciplines embracing retail change. All the core chapters contain original research and case study material apposite to the issues in question.

Our principal acknowledgements must go to the contributors for agreeing to participate in this volume and for their willingness to undertake the suggested revisions. Tragically, one of the authors, Larry O'Brien, lost his battle against a long illness shortly after his jointly authored chapter was completed. We are particularly grateful to Guy Lewis and Nicola Jones of the Cartographic Unit at the Department of Geography, University College of Swansea for redrawing the majority of the illustrations.

Finally, we would like to dedicate this book to our children, respectively; Martin and Paul; and David.

Rosemary D.F.BROMLEY & colin J.THOMAS Swansea, January 1993

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