Changing European retail landscapes: New trends and challenges

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During the second half of the 20thcentury, consumption patterns in the developed market economies have stabilised, while in the transition/EU-accession countries these patterns were accepted with unusual speed and dynamics. Differences, changes and current trends in Western Europe and post-socialist countries in the quantity and concentration of retailing activities have been minimised, whereas some distinctions in the quality of retail environments have remained. Changes have occurred in buying habits, shopping behaviour and consumer preferences basically for all population groups across the generations. This article is a theoretical and conceptual introduction to a Special Issue of the Moravian Geographical Reports (Volume 26, No. 3) on “The contemporary retail environment: shopping behaviour, consumers’ preferences, retailing and geomarketing”. The basic features which have occurred in European retailing environments are presented, together with a comparison (and confrontation) between Western and Eastern Europe. The multidisciplinary nature of retailing opens the discussion not only from a geographical perspective but also from the point of view of other social science disciplines that naturally interconnect in the retail environments.

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