The spatial restructuring of retailing in British cities in recent years has been characterized as a retail revolution. Off-centre superstores, retail warehouses, and planned regional shopping centres have been added to the pattern of traditional shopping facilities, which in turn have often experienced decline. The dichotomy between the old and new shopping facilities is increasingly reflected in a marked inequality in the opportunities of consumers, in which those with poor mobility are seen as disadvantaged consumers. Investigation of household shopping behaviour in the Swansea area following the recent development of many new car-orientated facilities, reveals that mobility, and specifically car-ownership, is the principal determinant of major variations in shopping behaviour for groceries and DIY products, and also for more specialized goods on sale at off-centre locations. The attractions of the newer off-centre opportunities dominate the shopping behaviour of the car-owning households. By contrast, the carless shopper appears constrained in behaviour and largely bypassed by the retail revolution. Examination of alternative factors influencing shopping behaviour, such as location of residence, age and socio-economic status serves to confirm the importance of car-ownership. The relationship between carlessness and disadvantage is also considered. Lack of a car is associated with elements of social disadvantage, and it is clear that the shopping trips of the carless shopper focus disproportionately on the traditional and more localized shopping facilities. The extent to which this constitutes consumer disadvantage, however, still awaits a direct and comprehensive investigation. (A)

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  • Corporate Authors:

    Institute of British Geographers

    1 Kensington Gore
    London SW7 2AR,   England 
  • Authors:
    • THOMAS, C J
  • Publication Date: 1993


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 00801481
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: Transport Research Laboratory
  • ISBN: 0020-2754
  • Files: ITRD
  • Created Date: Nov 8 2000 12:00AM