Retailing in Europe: 20 years on


Burt S (2010) Retailing in Europe: 20 years on. International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 20 (1), pp. 9-27.

“We are all familiar with the modern-day manager’s mantra that we live in times of great and constant change… We perceive our environment to be in constant flux because we only notice the things that do change ….Sure, important changes have taken place recently, but the truth is that stability and continuity also form the basis of our experience. In fact change has no meaning unless it is juxtaposed against continuity.” Huy & Minzberg (2003) This quote, paraphrased from a Sloan Management Review article on different types of change, makes an important observation – that change is inherently noticeable and that change is only change because of how it contrasts with continuity or stability. When looking back over the past twenty years of European retailing it is almost inevitable that we look for dramatic change, for in drama we have the “best” stories. There are numerous ways to look at (or look for) change, including the above, but the inherent point within the Huy and Minzberg article is that alongside change we have evolution and development, and perhaps this is often overlooked as a type of change. This paper starts by placing European retailing in context, with a brief reminder of the environmental setting(s) within which retailers in Europe operate. Change is then explored through one highly visible dimension – the scale of retail organisations - before turning to three broadly based areas of change which, it is argued, represent important underlying themes in European retailing. The intention is to focus on themes, rather than events, to provide a more complete understanding of how retailing in Europe has changes over the past twenty years.

; Retail trade Europe; European Union Commerce

International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research: Volume 20, Issue 1

Publication date28/02/2010
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)