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Corporate strategies in food retailing and their local impacts: a case study of Cardiff


  • C M Guy


The development programmes of major grocery retailers in Britain have transformed the retail systems of many urban areas. Impacts upon patterns of consumer behaviour and shopping provision have been substantial. Although many writers have discussed retailers' changing corporate strategies and their implications for new store development, there is still a need for local case studies. In this paper, therefore, processes of change in grocery provision in Cardiff, a city of almost 300 000 population, are examined, mainly over a recent twelve-year period. An initial burst of superstore development was accompanied by closures of many small grocery stores owned by multiple and cooperative organisations. Since about 1986, rates of new store development and of store closure have diminished. These changes were superimposed upon a longer term decline in independent food retailing. The question of trading impact is then investigated through associations over time and space of store openings and closures. Although some of the closures in this analysis appear to be explained, it is clear also that certain characteristics of the stores themselves (particularly size and location) were strongly related to the likelihood of closure. This in turn reflected corporate strategies for growth, repositioning, or retrenchment amongst the multiples concerned, mediated through the local property market and land-use planning policies. The conclusion is that the case study clearly exemplifies the impacts of recent events in British retailing, but that further studies are needed to build a comprehensive understanding of retail change at the local level.

Suggested Citation

  • C M Guy, 1996. "Corporate strategies in food retailing and their local impacts: a case study of Cardiff," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 28(9), pages 1575-1602, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:pio:envira:v:28:y:1996:i:9:p:1575-1602

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    Cited by:

    1. Srikanth Paruchuri & Joel A. C. Baum & David Potere, 2009. "The Wal-Mart Effect: Wave of Destruction or Creative Destruction?," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 85(2), pages 209-236, April.
    2. Peter Hall & Stephen Marshall & Michelle Lowe, 2001. "The Changing Urban Hierarchy in England and Wales, 1913-1998," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 35(9), pages 775-807.

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