Action and reaction: competition and the multiple retailer in 1930s Britain
This paper considers aspects of the competition between multiple and independent retailers in 1930s Britain. In particular, it explores how multiple retailers used spatial competition for economic advantage, and how the independent retailers reacted. The paper argues that multiple retailers contested and reshaped retail space in three critical and interrelated areas: locational space, store space and perceptual space. Evidence of this contestation and reshaping is drawn from a detailed reading of the trade press. The paper concludes that the spatial competition of the multiple retailers in this period was disruptive in nature, and that the optimistic nature of the arguments and the rhetoric put forward by the trade journals acting for the independents cannot disguise a deep-seated despair at how to react to this type of competition.
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