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Corporate Convenience Store Development Effects in Small Towns: Convenience Culture during Economic and Digital Storms

Wrigley, Neil, Wood, Steve, Lambiri, Dionysia and Lowe, Michelle (2019) Corporate Convenience Store Development Effects in Small Towns: Convenience Culture during Economic and Digital Storms Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 51 (1). pp. 112-132.

Corporate Convenience Store Development Effects in Small Towns 2018.pdf - Accepted version Manuscript

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The impact of global economic crisis, together with the ‘digital’ storm of unrelenting growth in online retail and its complex substitution and modification effects, had significant implications for UK town centres and high streets. Dramatically increased vacancy rates within town centres have focused policy debate on the drivers of their vitality and viability in the context of profound technological and consumer culture shifts. As consumers turned away from ‘big basket’ one-stop weekly shops at large out-of-centre stores, and began shopping ‘little and often’ using a fragmented range of alternatives, the convenience store sector, significantly altered by corporate entry, grew rapidly. However, there is surprisingly little empirical evidence on the impacts of these new-generation corporate convenience stores on town centres and communities. This paper helps fill that gap by reporting the findings of a study of five small towns in southern England. Drawing on evidence from surveys of over 1,500 consumers and 200 traders, we show that despite their modest size, these stores have rapidly assumed significant and little documented trip generation and ‘anchor’ roles essential to the sustainability of the centres. Moreover, they have facilitated trends towards ‘relocalisation’ of food shopping, reduction in car dependency, and higher than expected levels of linked trips. In this paper, we draw out the significance of those findings and position them within wider conceptual and policy debates. We also stress the spatially and temporally contingent nature of the findings within a dynamic technological and regulatory context.

Item Type: Article
Divisions : Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Surrey Business School
Authors :
Wrigley, Neil
Lambiri, Dionysia
Lowe, Michelle
Date : 1 February 2019
DOI : 10.1177/0308518X18796507
Copyright Disclaimer : Copyright 2018 Sage Publications. This is the author's accepted manuscript.
Uncontrolled Keywords : Town centre; High street; Retailing; Online retail; Retail planning policy; Competition and markets
Depositing User : Clive Harris
Date Deposited : 06 Aug 2018 10:07
Last Modified : 18 Feb 2019 13:58

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