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Beyond convenience: the future for independent food and grocery retailers in the UK

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Abstract:

The UK's independent food and grocery retail sector's competitive advantage of 'convenience' has been eroded in recent years as major retailers increase opening hours and develop their own convenience trading formats. As a result, large numbers of independent retailers are closing. A UK-wide survey was undertaken to identify other sources of competitive advantages, and the changes needed to stop or reverse the decline in this sector. Exploratory semi-structured interviews led to the development of a questionnaire on six major issues affecting the sector. 'Snowball' sampling, using industry partners, provided 142 respondents. The provision of a 'social shopping experience' emerged as a key competitive advantage that could be developed. Improving vertical and horizontal trading alliances, and the wider use of information technology, provided other options.

Keywords: COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE; CONVENIENCE RETAILING; INDEPENDENT RETAILERS; RETAIL ENVIRONMENT; SOCIAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09593960126381

Publication date: 2001-10-01

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