Wood S, Reynolds J, 2011, "The intrafirm context of retail expansion planning" Environment and Planning A 43(10) 2468 – 2491
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The intrafirm context of retail expansion planning
Steve Wood, Jonathan Reynolds
Received 8 February 2011; in revised form 27 April 2011
Abstract. The benefits that rigorous analysis can have for retail-store portfolio management in guiding and informing investment decisions (store expansion, closure, extension, refascia, and acquisition) is well established within the economic geography research literature. However, studies of retailers addressing location planning in practice have identified wide variation in the sophistication of techniques and resources employed as well as in terms of the credibility that such research and analysis receives from senior management within the firm. By drawing on a qualitative research project involving some forty location planning analysts, consultants, and managers at UK-based retailers, we differentiate between three approaches to store portfolio decision-making that differ in terms of resource allocation, sophistication, and legitimacy. We seek to explain those differences that are embedded within the context of intrafirm relations and social communities by drawing on theories from strategic management concerning core rigidities, lock-in, and legitimisation, and review the challenges that location planners face in gaining legitimacy within the organisation, along with strategies appropriate for increasing their acceptance and influence across the firm.
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