Lancaster University

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Retail Study Brings Food For Thought

06/11/2004 12:26:16

People are shopping closer to home and more frequently than ever according to a new ESRC-funded study led by Professor Ian Clarke of Lancaster University Management School’s Marketing Department.

Following up on research undertaken 22 years ago, Retail Competition and Consumer Choice is the first ever long-term study of its kind.

The study – carried out by Professor Clarke along with colleagues from other universities - addresses the implications of the growth in concentration in food retailing in the UK and its impact on consumer choice at the household level.

The study shows that the increase in food retail competition over the last 20 or more years has led to consumers becoming ‘choosier’ but at the same time more constrained in their choices.

Professor Clarke said: “Despite the huge explosion in retail provision and improvements in living standards over the last two decades, people just don’t have the retailing choices available that planners and policy-makers think they do – irrespective of their social standing.”

“People almost seem too busy to do their food shopping – they are not so much ‘making choices’ as struggling to fit their food shopping in and around increasingly busy work commitments and lifestyles.”

The findings of the first ever long-term study of the effects of local retail change and the impact on consumer choice at the household level were presented Canada House, London, on Tuesday, June 8, 2004.

For further details log onto LUMS website at