Retail change : a consideration of the UK food retail industry, 1950-2010
The immense changes to have taken place in UK food retailing during the second half of the 20th century are detailed, explained and analysed, with constant reference to theories of retail change. The result is not just a history of UK food retail change post-1950, but a comprehensive evaluation and extension of retail change theory, with new driving forces and ideas elaborated, and a forecast of likely key developments to 2010. The thesis is based largely on the testimonies of key industry actors of the period, including past and present executives of leading food retail organisations, and followed an un-structured interview approach, allowing stories to be told without unnecessary constraint. The development of the industry is detailed and explained, drawing heavily on these testimonies, and this change is explained with reference to major factors with a direct hearing on the industry, such as government policy and socio-economic change. Because of the emphasis on witness accounts, the theories of retail change are analysed with a heavy focus on the people driving change, a refreshing change in a field where the historical nature of the subject tends to drive research towards secondary sources of data. The thesis contributes a better understanding of the forces driving the theories of retail change, and proposes an extension to the domain of application. The relevant elements of the theories of retail change are implemented to forecast likely developments in the UK food retail industry to 2010, which is complemented by an 'expert' Delphi forecast and a projection of current socio-economic trends.