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Are there barriers to innovation in retailing?

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Recent data from the Community Innovation Survey challenge some of the conventional arguments that retailing is inherently less innovative than other sectors within developed economies. According to the data, firms in the UK retail sector are now converging on the all-sector average. Drawing on qualitative research undertaken within retail firms, this article begins by examining some of the implications of this and the reasons why survey data may still underestimate the extent of innovation in the sector. One of the potential contributory factors to an increase in reported levels of innovation may be a reduction in barriers to innovation. In a new analysis of the data, the article explores the nature and incidence of such barriers in the UK. It judges that, although barriers were already perceived to be low, further reductions may have played a part in stimulating innovation. However, amongst other factors, it also notes that the sector still lacks any reliance upon universities and HEIs to assist with strategic innovation. The article further concludes that present economic conditions are likely to detrimentally affect a number of the cost and market factors, which are the most significant barriers to innovation in the sector.
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Keywords: Community Innovation Survey; barriers to innovation; business engagement; innovation; retailing

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Oxford Institute of Retail Management, Said Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK 2: Sheffield Business School, Sheffield Hallam University, Sheffield and Oxford Institute of Retail Management, Said Business School, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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