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Implementing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995: A comparison of Manchester city centre and out-of-town retailer responses

Schmidt, Ruth A. and Jones, Peter and Oldfield, Brenda M. (2005) Implementing the Disability Discrimination Act 1995: A comparison of Manchester city centre and out-of-town retailer responses. International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, 33 (9). pp. 669-684. ISSN 0959-0552

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Abstract

Purpose – At the time of the imminent implementation of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995, Part III, this paper aims to raise awareness both amongst retail and marketing academics and practitioners of the opportunities and potential marketing benefits inherent in the implementation of the Act. Design/methodology/approach – A review of the UK disabled sector and the implications of DDA Stage III for retailers and service marketers is combined with an observational case study of shopping facilities for the mobility impaired shopper in a Manchester city centre and out-of-town location, complemented by interviews with Shopmobility representatives. Findings – Findings provide an observational insight into the status quo of the implementation of the Act. Questions are raised concerning potential retailer responses on a continuum between mere compliance and enthusiastic commitment to the enhancement of servicescapes to the benefit of all. The role of different stakeholders and the potential contribution to location marketing are discussed. Research limitations/implications – Insights are based on systematically gathered observational data representing one person's experience at one point in time and in a specific location, validated via key informant interviews with two representatives of Shopmobility services. They can therefore be seen as exploratory only. Furthermore the focus is on mobility impairment, which is only one of a wide range of disabilities. Practical implications – Implications for marketers include the need to move away from treating this market as separate from the mainstream and realize opportunities for enhancing servicescapes and retail offerings in ways which would benefit the wider population as well. Originality/value – Through its qualitative case study approach the paper represents a rich snapshot of the retail offering in two Manchester locations on the eve of the implementation of DDA Part III, as seen from the point of view of a scooter based shopper.

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