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Corporate convenience store development effects in small towns: Convenience culture during economic and digital storms

Corporate convenience store development effects in small towns: Convenience culture during economic and digital storms
Corporate convenience store development effects in small towns: Convenience culture during economic and digital storms
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.
0308-518X
112-132
Wrigley, Neil
e8e2986a-fbf0-4b27-9eef-1b5e6a137805
Wood, Steven M.
d70a751e-ef0e-415c-a3c7-9db7593f57ce
Lambiri, Dionysia
eac5d4bd-45d2-4034-bb28-60468076c76d
Lowe, Michelle
ef0bda2e-3e2c-428f-9c0b-cc8551ff255e
Wrigley, Neil
e8e2986a-fbf0-4b27-9eef-1b5e6a137805
Wood, Steven M.
d70a751e-ef0e-415c-a3c7-9db7593f57ce
Lambiri, Dionysia
eac5d4bd-45d2-4034-bb28-60468076c76d
Lowe, Michelle
ef0bda2e-3e2c-428f-9c0b-cc8551ff255e

Wrigley, Neil, Wood, Steven M., 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, 51 (1), 112-132. (doi:10.1177/0308518X18796507).

Record type: Article

Abstract

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.

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Corporate Convenience Store Development Effects in Small Towns 2018 - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 2 August 2018
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 September 2018
Published date: 1 February 2019

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 423052
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/423052
ISSN: 0308-518X
PURE UUID: 57cb9e90-cf50-48aa-8357-ff2973cb1bdd
ORCID for Neil Wrigley: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3967-5668

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Date deposited: 13 Aug 2018 16:30
Last modified: 27 Jan 2020 13:34

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