Annotated Bibliography

Alexander, A. (2010) ‘Past, Present and Future Directions in the Study of the History of Retailing’ Journal of Historical Research in Marketing Vol. 2 No. 3 pp.356-362

Alexander considers the different areas within the study of retailing, especially in the context of the twentieth century contributions to the literature. He found that economic and cultural interpretations of the supermarket propositions throughout the 1950s and 1960s were connected, affecting how the consumer viewed the shopping experience. The retail supply chain was also an important factor in the development of UK retail, especially grocery. The retail innovation process frequently drove new developments in retail shopping, including the introduction of the supermarket trolley.

The brief review highlights three particular strands of retail history, however, these may not be the most important aspects of UK grocery retail development. Also, when looking back at events, interpretations can differ as recollections are imperfect. Overall, a reasoned account of retailing, but should considered within a range of alternative accounts to obtain the best picture of retail history.

Elms, J., Canning, C., de Kervenoael, R., Whysall, P. and Hallsworth, A. (2010) ’30 Years of Retail Change: Where (and How) do You Shop?’ International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management Vol. 38 No. 11 pp.817-827

Elms et al take as their inspiration a work from 1980 that attempted to predict the changes in the UK grocery industry across a four year period. They extended their timeframe and also considered other literature in the area. Some of the themes relevant in the early 1980s are relevant today, including price wars and the growth of the superstore. Predictions included a reduction in the number of major supermarkets to three – Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda – with these three holding over 50% of the market. The importance of having a car and a freezer were mentioned as part of this dominance. Within the current grocery sector, the question of how people shop is now as important as with whom they shop, with the increasing use of the internet and increasing independence of women changing how shopping is done and when.

The article is relatively critical in its approach, with the ideas of the authors in 1980 being questioned in terms of both what happened in the 1980s and how that relates to the current situation. The current recession is mentioned at the end of the article: there is no indication as to when the article was accepted by the journal so its position compared to when the recession actually started is unclear. However, the authors do at least mention it as a future influence on the grocery market.

Lowe, M. and Wrigley, N. (2011) ‘Tesco: From Domestic Operator to Multinational Giant’ in Johnson, G., Whittington, R. and Scholes, K. (2011) Exploring Strategy: Text and Cases (9th Edn.) FT Prentice Hall, Harlow

Low and Wrigley have produced a case study for the Johnson et al text, identifying how Tesco has been growing from being the UK’s retail grocer market leader to being one of the largest global retailers. The information is current at 2009, meaning some of Tesco’s recent decisions such as withdrawing from Japan and the predicted withdrawal from the USA are not included. At the time the case was written, however, Tesco could not put a foot wrong. They expanded initially from the UK into the EU, predominantly the new Eastern Bloc countries, and followed this up with expansion into the Far East and the USA. The case study is descriptive rather than analytical, meaning the reader must treat the information cautiously and interrogate the data presented to confirm its validity. The case closes with a brief summary of Tesco’s international rivals, suggested as being Wal-Mart (in the UK, through its takeover of the Asda chain), Carrefour, Royal Ahold, Metro and Aldi. The case would be useful for compiling a timeline of events and describing Tesco’s history to 2009.

Hackney, R., Grant, K. and Birtwistle, G. (2006) ‘The UK Grocery Business: Towards a Sustainable Model for Virtual Markets’ International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management Vol. 34 No. 4 pp.354-368

Hackney et al address the importance of internet operations for the big four supermarkets and try to identify areas of best practice to assist with current development. Tesco’s operation is said to deliver superior performance through five critical factors comprising profit model focus, smart mover entry, leveraging reach, richness and affiliation, strategic positioning and brand power. These factors are claimed to confer sustainability on the Tesco model, although it is also stated that new factors may well become important as internet operations develop and customers become more sophisticated where their online shopping is concerned. Different lessons have been learned as internet operations have increased in size and scope, with new ways of conceptualising and managing virtual retail operations resulting from that learning. Hackney et al propose a model to assist with the development of internet operations. Such a model might prove useful for Morrison, who have yet to set up an online operation.

Ellis-Chadwick, F., Doherty, N. F. and Anastasakis, L. (2007) ‘E-Strategy in the UK Retail Grocery Sector: A Resource-Based Analysis’ Managing Service Quality Vol. 17 No. 6 pp.702-727

Ellis-Chadwick et al consider the use of internet-based shopping through the lens of the resource-based view of strategy (based on the ideas of resources, capabilities, dynamic capabilities and core competences: see Prahalad and Hamel 1990, Barney 1995 and Teece et al, 1997). There was some primary data collection but the authors highlight the significant reliance upon secondary data as a limitation of the study. The study highlights the incremental approach taken by retailers when developing their online presence, involving trialling new ideas, watching what the competition do and trying to introduce innovative services and ideas to attract and retain customers. The focus of the organisations on sustainable competitive advantage was not considered in sufficient detail, although such an examination might not have been as relevant when the article was first produced as it proved to be when the global recession took hold in 2007-2008. The authors see the need for organisations to see their internet services to be seen as one element of its e- commerce strategy, implying that the organisations should remember to retain consistency across all aspects of its online services.

Hand. C., Riley, F. D., Harris, P., Singh, J. and Rettie, R. (2009) ‘Online Grocery Shopping: The Influence of Situational Factors’ European Journal of Marketing Vol. 43 No. 9 pp.1205-1219

This article provides another perspective on the online shopping experience which addresses the issue identified as missing from the previous article, namely, the need to attract and retain customers who prefer to shop online. Hand et al seek to identify the different factors that cause shoppers to adopt online grocery shopping and/or stop using the service, with a focus on situational factors. Triggers for the commencement of shopping online include having a baby and developing health problems. It appears that it is only when the initial trigger has disappeared or when there has been a problem with the service that shoppers stop using the online service. It is interesting that they do not consider whether the stoppage is permanent or whether shoppers swap providers in the hope of obtaining a better service: this would form the basis of a follow-up study. The article concludes with recommendations for organisations to target their marketing more effectively, based upon these situational factors.

This study took place at a time when the main service provider was Tesco. With the development of other offerings, and with Tesco’s reputation having taken a knock this year, the findings would need to be taken with a pinch of salt, to ensure they are still relevant today.

Anselmsson, J. and Johansson, U. (2007) ‘Corporate Social Responsibility and the Positioning of Grocery Brands: An Exploratory Study of Retailer and Manufacturer Brands at Point of Purchase’ International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management Vol. 35 No. 10 pp.835-856

Anselmsson and Johansson aimed to discover what influenced consumers when purchasing grocery brands and products, with specific reference to corporate social responsibility (CSR). They discovered that grocery retailers could build their own brands and include specific attributes based on CSR. “Me too” responses were also seen as valid. The main CSR dimension with greatest impact on overall CSR image was product responsibility. Purchase intentions were influenced most by human responsibility. Perhaps surprisingly, environmental responsibility has the least impact on both overall CSR image and purchase intentions. This implies that grocery retailers need to focus on their overall CSR image and reduce their focus on environmental responsibilities, to address customers’ apparent needs.

The findings of this study are not generalisable to other situations, but do at least provide an indication of what aspects of CSR are important to the consumer, rather than important to the organisation. For a more detailed study, the normal six dimensions of CSR could be used rather than the three used in this study.

Denstadli, J. M., Lines, R. and Grønhaug, K. (2005) ‘First Mover Advantages in the Discount Grocery Industry’ European Journal of Marketing Vol. 29 No. 7 pp.872-884

This study focuses on whether discounters opening stores first, that is, before others have had a chance to, have an advantage over the stores that follow. Three specific areas were considered, namely, consumer perceptions, technological leadership and cost efficiency. The study found that there was a marked difference to how first movers were perceived to those who followed, with first movers being perceived as significantly superior, and includes store attributes documented to be similar across chains. On this basis, Iceland should have an advantage in the UK over Aldi and Lidl, although all three are seeing growth as food prices increase and individual salaries do not keep pace with such increases.

This study is rather dated, and could do with being updated to reflect the increasing prices of foodstuffs, the falling real value of wages and salaries for the majority and the trading down of many individuals and families who can no longer afford to shop at the main stores, even Tesco.

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