Academic journal article Management & Marketing

Urban Retail Market in Bratislava (Slovakia): Consumers Perception and Classification of Shopping Centres

Academic journal article Management & Marketing

Urban Retail Market in Bratislava (Slovakia): Consumers Perception and Classification of Shopping Centres

Article excerpt

Introduction

At the turn of the new millennium there is an increasing economists', geographers', sociologists' and also other specialists' interest in retailing issues which is not random but it is related to the development dynamics and spatial variety of the tertiary sector. Retail is classified into the services sector which is nowadays the most important and most dynamically growing sector in the world's economy (Birkin et al., 2002). Except for the quantitative increase of services, and thus retail, there are also dynamic qualitative changes. Processes linked with the transformation and globalization of the industry such as: liberalization, internationalization, concentration, cooperation, e-commerce, etc. are among those which most intensely shape retail in the world today. These general trends are more significant in post-communist countries after the transition to a free market economy (Frydman et al., 1994; Gielens and Dekimpe, 2007; Páll and Hunf, 2013; Ptácek and Szczyrba, 2007; Pommois, 2004; Spilková, 2003). Taking Slovakia as an example the transition from a centrally planned economy to a free market, changes in ownership, entry of foreign investors, structure changes of the retail network in context of globalization, applying new information and communication technologies and on the other hand radical changes in customers' behavior resulted in the transformation of the urban retail market in Slovak cities.

Consumers' habits change with time. While in 1945 it was mainly about buying products and merchandise, during the 60's and 70's of the 20th century greater emphasis on service began to be take place. At the end of the 20th century shopping was about a thought of going outside and gain experience. Shopping is currently about transformation or collecting lifestyle elements or material goods that contribute to the well-being of consumers.

Progress in shopping includes opportunities for consumers to participate in social and cultural activities. Entertainment has become an integral part of shopping centres in the form of cinemas, gyms, bowling, casinos, water sports and others. The age structure of the consumers changes in the context of demographic processes and there are also changes in the behavior of consumers and their preferences (Kunc et al., 2013 Spilková, 2012a) and also changes in the consumer movement for services (Maryás et al., 2014).

With the 21st century new challenges come into retail within the meaning of continuous creation of new types of shopping facilities. The original urban retail market concentrated in the city center is confronted with facilities combining traditional shopping with convenience and commercial activities and benefits in shopping centres. This creates a diverse set of urban shopping formats differing in functional characteristics as well as in the location in space. It can be noted that the new types of urban shopping formats that appear on the market in terms of transformation and diversification of shopping do not automatically replace the existing shopping formats (Coleman, 2012).The coexistence of various shopping formats is part of a diversified retail activity in the urban retail market.

This paper aims to evaluate selected issues of retail in the city Bratislava, in context of the spatial dimensions of the city. The task of this paper is the classification of the shopping centres in Bratislava in the context of the referred taxonomy and the analysis of consumer shopping preferences.

Methods and data

The methods applied in this paper can be divided into two groups. The first group of methods is related to evaluating the consumer perception and preferences. There are various approaches to identify consumer behavior: questionnaire survey (Kunc et al., 2012a), consumer diaries (Smith et al., 2003), or microanalysis of customers' movement in shopping center (Spilková and Hochel, 2009).

The most common and most widely used methods of qualitative shopping behavior research include questionnaire survey and interview (Kunc et al. …

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