International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 1 July 2004



Broadbridge, A. (2004), "Editorial", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 32 No. 7. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijrdm.2004.08932gaa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


This issue of Retail Insights provides a variety of different articles with practitioner and teaching interest.

The first article provides a fresh perspective on the romance of engagement. In it, the authors, Fram and Baron question whether the slogan “Diamonds are forever” is outdated in today's society. Social attitudes have changed and now it is acceptable for couples to cohabit before getting engaged or married. The authors conducted a study with people in their twenties to determine their views on the desirability of purchasing an engagement ring. The survey found that men were more likely to hold a traditional view that an engagement should be signified by a natural diamond ring (64 per cent) than did the women (57 per cent). Furthermore, around a fifth of the women believed it was personally unimportant to receive a natural engagement ring to signify their engagement. Moreover, many more women (45 per cent) than men (28 per cent) believed it was more appropriate for an engaged couple to celebrate a marriage engagement in another manner without a ring gift. With regard to retailer implications, the authors argue that with appropriate marketing, some retailers such as home furnishers stand to gain the purchase attention of couples planning to get engaged.

The second article provides a good overview for readers wanting an understanding of town centre management, and could be a useful teaching accompaniment for students and lecturers on the subject area. This is the first publication for Georgina Whyatt, from Oxford Brookes University who was once herself a town-centre manager so she is able to bring practitioner experience to the topic area. In the article she provides a framework for understanding town centre management issues. She reviews a range of theoretical frameworks that inform effective and strategic town centre management. She summarises the importance of retailer involvement in town centre management together with the problems and opportunities that exist. She also discusses the range of benefits that the customer seeks from the modern town centre, and how customer needs can be efficiently and effectively met. Her conclusions outline how town centre managers can enable urban areas to develop competitive advantage and benefit all of those in the stakeholder relationship.

In the third article, Ruth Schmidt and Elke Pioch from the Manchester Metropolitan University provide an interesting account of the issues involved in the deregulation and competition for community pharmacies. Perhaps, unsurprisingly local independent pharmacies have traditionally enjoyed very strong levels of customer loyalty and usage. They also, until recently, were highly regulated within the UK and enjoyed special protective measures. Recent deregulation in the industry however has increased the pressures on the small and medium sized businesses in the sector. The authors describe the trends in the pharmacy market including the impact that the major multiples including supermarkets and large-scale competitors such as Boots, Moss and Lloyd have made on community pharmacies. They point out that the various developments increase the degree of competition in the retail pharmacy sector, which makes the independent sector more vulnerable. They conclude that community pharmacists must develop a unique selling proposition tailored to the needs of their current and potential customer base in order to survive.

Finally, the issue reproduces an interview with Clive Humby, chairman of dunnhumby, on his recent book Scoring Points that explores the success of the Tesco Clubcard in winning customer loyalty.

Adelina BroadbridgeUniversity of Stirling

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