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Decline in the British small shop independent retail sector: exploring European parallels

Coca-Stefaniak, J. Andres and Hallsworth, Alan and Parker, Cathy and Bainbridge, Stephen and Yuste, R. (2005) Decline in the British small shop independent retail sector: exploring European parallels. Journal of retailing and consumer services, 12 (5). pp. 357-371. ISSN 0969-6989

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Abstract

In this paper we start by outlining the continued decline of the small shop in Britain. The decline is seen as especially severe in the truly independent/non-affiliated sector and we look at trends in decline but also the methodologies used to analyse this. Since a key current theme in European integration policy is for exchange of experience and best practise we then report on how an EU-funded (ESF) project is seeking lessons and parallels in the small shop sector in Britain and Spain. By examining official government statistics we see how the sector is monitored in Britain and Spain and then identify one clear one common factor in the rise of organised town centre management. We suggest that future research may usefully begin to develop a more euro-centric approach ensuring that the small shop sector EU-wide learns from transnational experiences. Accordingly, we also present the preliminary findings from a transnational survey of small retailers. The paper ends with a summary of ways in which we have sought to bring together the experiences of small retailers in both countries.

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