Skip header navigation


Special Issue: Assessing Retail Productivity

Sparks L (2005) Special Issue: Assessing Retail Productivity. International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 15 (3), pp. 227-236.

First paragraph: This Special Issue of the International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research has its origins both in a longstanding academic concern over the measurement of productivity in retailing and also in the more recent UK Government statements and actions about the 'productivity gap', from which the UK has been believed to have suffered for some time. While previous governments have been concerned with aspects of competitiveness and the British economy, the Labour government from 1997 has focused consistently on productivity and the efficiency and effectiveness of British companies in national and global marketplaces. One of the earliest manifestations of this was the government orchestrated 'Rip-off Britain' campaign, which accused UK retailers of charging excessively high prices and operating in an anti-consumer and anti-competitive manner. International comparisons, in particular with the USA, seemed to show an inefficient and uncompetitive UK retail sector. This resulted in a Competition Commission enquiry into supermarkets. There is also anecdotal evidence that in 1999 the government actively encouraged the entry of Wal-Mart to the UK, seeing them as a way of forcing British retailers to confront leading-edge competition and produce a 'better' product for the consumer. However, the outcome of the Competition Commission investigation rather rejected claims of 'Rip-off Britain' (Competition Commission, 2000). Indeed one leading retailer claimed that 'when the enquiry was started, the worry was that prices are too high; what we actually ended up being criticised for was that prices are too low' (Tim Mason, Tesco, BBC News Online 10 October 2000, downloaded from on 24 March 2005).

Output Type: Editorial

International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research: Volume 15, Issue 3

Author(s)Sparks, Leigh
Publication date31/07/2005
Publication date online17/02/2007
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
Scroll back to the top