Since the early 1990s there has been a substantial re-structuring of retailing in Europe. Further, even greater, re-structuring is likely over the next 5 years. The implications extend beyond Europe but they have had primary impact within European markets. The restructuring involves not only changes in horizontal competitive relationships amongst retailers but also involves new forms of relationship with suppliers and an extension of the activities of West European retailers into Central Europe. The restructuring has occurred alongside substantive changes in strategies, relationships and operations. These changes have encouraged the emergence of an alternative perspective of the role of retailing that places retailing as the initiator of added value activities in the economy rather than in its traditionally more passive role of building on the value being added in manufacturing. The new role places retailing in a global framework of international store operations, international sourcing of products, international flows of management and managerial know-how, and international retailer brands. The aim of this chapter is threefold to place the re-structuring in context, to consider its nature, and, to explore how the new global framework could affect Europe over the next decade. The chapter comprises five parts. First, the new role of retailing is explored. Secondly, there is consideration of what is changing in the retail sector of Europe. Thirdly, some implications of the changes are explored. The fourth part considers why the changes are taking place. Finally, there is consideration of the underpinning nature of innovation in the changes and exploration of how future patterns may develop.
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- Retail Trends in Europe
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