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Retailing and consumption: evidence from war time Britain

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Abstract:

Insufficient attention has been given to the place of the consumer in debates surrounding the history of retail development and retail change. This paper uses empirical data from the archive of Mass-Observation to explore directly consumers' reactions to the issue of retail development and change in early 1940s Britain. Mass-Observation data is shown to provide clear evidence of consumers' differing perceptions of the retail industry, their preferences for particular retail types and their reactions to retail change. It also confirms the need to remain alert to the importance of social relations in understanding consumers' reactions to the retail change process. The paper ends by arguing the case for further historical studies of the retailing and consumption interface.

Keywords: CONSUMER REACTION; CONSUMPTION; MULTIPLE RETAILING; RETAIL CHANGE; RETAIL HISTORY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09593960110103805

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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