Hughes A, 1996, "Retail restructuring and the strategic significance of food retailers' own-labels: a UK - USA comparison" Environment and Planning A 28(12) 2201 – 2226
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Retail restructuring and the strategic significance of food retailers' own-labels: a UK - USA comparison
Received 23 December 1994; in revised form 4 August 1995
Abstract. Recognising the use of food retailers' own-labels as a particular form of competitive strategy, I seek to show how such a strategy is embedded within the very different retailing environments of the United Kingdom and USA. It is argued that power relations in the production - consumption chain, which have been influenced by regulation, have favoured the retailers in the United Kingdom more than they have in the USA. This appears to have allowed the UK food retailers to execute own-label strategic action which has 'creatively destroyed' the preexisting configuration of power, competitive behaviour, and cultural relations in the production - consumption chain. The US retailers, in contrast, have been restricted to quantitatively lower levels of own-label trading and strategy which has been qualitatively more rigid and conservative. It is suggested, then, that power relations produced in different national contexts can either constrain or enable retailers in their ability to formulate and execute own-label strategies which are a part of the complex logic of capital which characterises retailing. Therefore, given a continued period of deregulation in the USA, and an erosion of manufacturer power, retail capital is likely to develop more along the lines of the UK system and generate own-label strategies with similar economic and cultural significance to those in the United Kingdom.
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