1997 volume 29(1) pages 77 – 104
doi:10.1068/a290077

Cite as:
Langston P, Clarke G P, Clarke D B, 1997, "Retail saturation, retail location, and retail competition: an analysis of British grocery retailing" Environment and Planning A 29(1) 77 – 104

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Retail saturation, retail location, and retail competition: an analysis of British grocery retailing

P Langston, G P Clarke, D B Clarke

Abstract. The appreciably dramatic idea that British grocery retailing is facing imminent saturation has attracted increasing attention particularly since the mid-1980s to late 1980s. In this paper we seek to review and attempt to sophisticate the debate over saturation by providing a detailed discussion and spatial analysis of current levels of retail provision. This analysis, in itself, offers a view of the potential for future retail expansion. We argue here, however, that spatial patterns of retail provision must be interpreted carefully, particularly given the profoundly different competitive conditions that characterise British grocery retailing in the 1990s as compared with the 1980s. In considering both the spatial patterns of, and competitive processes underlying, British food retailing, we offer an account of recent retail geography in a way that synthesises approaches that are all too frequently presented as antagonistic.

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