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Vitality and Viability: Challenge to the Town Centre

Russell Schiller (Partner and Head of Research at Hillier Parker. He has written a large number of publications and has been responsible for the retailing component of the research for PPG6.)

International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 1 September 1994


British town centres are suffering from the growing trend towards out‐of‐town retailing. The Continental model for the future of town centres appears attractive, but there are problems. National durable multiples face a locational dilemma – they have a commitment to town centres but wish to follow the market out of town if that is necessary. The result is that many run both town centre and out‐of‐town operations in parallel. The three waves of retail decentralization – food, bulky goods and comparison goods‐have varying effects on different sizes of centre. Larger durable‐based town centres are likely to suffer slow attrition, but some food‐anchored district centres could suffer from new, smaller, out‐of‐town supermarkets. There is a growing amount of leisure‐based shopping which could work to the advantage of some small market towns. The tide of out‐of‐town retailing is running so strongly that the new tighter government policy is unlikely to stop it completely. Many town centres could contract commercially, but they could continue to prosper by encouraging housing and services.



Schiller, R. (1994), "Vitality and Viability: Challenge to the Town Centre", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 22 No. 6, pp. 46-50.




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