The impact of change on retail strategy, structure and performance


This paper focuses on the analysis of change across three distinct, but interrelated environments: 1) consumer; 2) economic and 3) retailing. Past failures in retailing research have resulted from a lack of focus and direction and from attempts to diagnose the strategic implications of change in isolation from changes in the consumer and economic environments. The paper begins with a framework for analysis and an overview of change in the three separate environments. Later, several tracking studies examine different markets/countries over time as an example of how integrated research can aid in strategic planning for mass retailers. Here the focus is on changing consumer needs and changing retail merchandising strategies in the fashion, grocery and fast food industries. The concept of change, by definition, argues for studies which track and monitor consumers, the economic environment and retail structure oyer time. Through such an integrated research programme, the direction of cause and effect can be more accurately assessed. The examples which follow provide some evidence that changes initiated in any of the three environments have profound effects on the other two environments.

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