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The role of community-led food retailers in enabling urban resilience

McEachern, MG and Warnaby, G and Moraes, C (2021) The role of community-led food retailers in enabling urban resilience. Sustainability (Switzerland), 13 (14). p. 7563.

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Abstract

Our research examines the extent to which community-led food retailers (CLFRs) contribute to the resilience and sustainability of urban retail systems and communities in the UK, contributing to existing debates on the sustainability and resilience of the UK’s urban retail sector. While existing literature has predominantly focused on larger retail multiples, we suggest more attention be paid to small, independent retailers as they possess a broader, more diffuse spatiality and societal impact than that of the immediate locale. Moreover, their local embeddedness and understanding of the needs of the local customer base provide a key source of potentially sustainable competitive advantage. Using spatial and relational resilience theories, and drawing on 14 original qualitative interviews with CLFRs, we establish the complex links between community, place, social relations, moral values, and resilience that manifest through CLFRs. In doing so, we advance the conceptualization of community resilience by acknowledging that in order to realise the networked, resilient capacities of a community, the moral values and behavior of the retail community need to be ascertained. Implications and relevant recommendations are provided to secure a more sustainable set of capacities needed to ensure resilient, urban retail systems which benefit local communities.

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