International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management

ISSN: 0959-0552

Article publication date: 6 June 2008



Broadbridge, A. (2008), "Editorial", International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Vol. 36 No. 7. https://doi.org/10.1108/ijrdm.2008.08936gaa.001



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited


Article Type: Editorial From: International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management, Volume 36, Issue 7

Andrew Alexander, David Cryer and Steve Wood’s paper provides a useful case study approach to teaching and understanding locational decisions within the unique context of charity retailing. In so doing it outlines the differences and similarities with related debates within the grocery sector. The extant literature on charity retailing has largely overlooked issues relating to locational decisions and so this paper contributes to our knowledge in this area. It questions how locational planning for new charity stores is undertaken and what are the techniques adopted for locational planning and management taken by charity retailers. It then examines to what extent are the drivers of store location in the charity sector similar to those in other retail sectors. To achieve this a case study approach is adopted by focusing on one hospice charity, Helen and Douglas House which was the world’s first children’s hospice, and set a strategy to develop a chain of charity shops. Their analysis highlights that the locational issues in charity retailing are more complex and nuanced than in the “for profit” retail sector. They conclude that charity shops share some characteristics of convenience stores in their need to study the dynamics of the catchment at a very local and micro spatial level. Locational decisions were found to be constrained by the availability of sites and a restricted budget for store development, which might follow “for profit” retailing. However, in addition, they argue that the supply chain (and reliance on donated merchandise) and workforce (a high reliance on a volunteer workforce) are additional constraints in the locational decision of charity retailers. These two issues of supply of merchandise and the workforce might be interesting for students to debate as to whether they are unique to charity retailing or do indeed pose constraints for some commercial “for profit” retailers.

Stephen Doyle, Christopher Moore, Anne Marie Doherty and Morag Hamilton’s paper provides a case study of B&B Italia, a Milan based luxury furniture manufacturer and retailer and focuses specifically on the role of its flagship store. It may provide a useful case material to enhance students’ learning in the field, e.g. branding and flagship stores. The authors provide a background on brands and brand management, as well as outlining the characteristics of flagship stores, emphasising the role of building brand image that flagship stores hold. They also acknowledge their role in helping to develop and launch new product ranges, as well as their strategic functions. The paper moves on to consider these aspects in relation to the case of B&B Italia. It outlines how the company evolved and demonstrates how it created a policy of a brand experience environment that is controlled by, and representational of the company. In their conclusions the authors point to how various characteristics of flagship stores are pertinent to the case of B&B Italia and how brand building, market development and other strategic functions play an important role in this luxury furniture market.

Peter Jones, Daphne Comfort and David Hillier’s paper draws attention to and provides an overview of a report published in September 2007 which speculates on the future of the UK retail economy. They outline four possible scenarios for how UK retailing might look in 2022 and in so doing assesses their implications for sustainable development. The scenarios are entitled “my way”, “sell it to me”, “from me to you” and “I’m in your hands” and consider a future that may be more or less prosperous than today as well as contrasting consumers needs to have the power to do things for themselves with those who want things done for them. Each scenario predicts what the future UK economy might hold and how this impacts on retailing and sustainable development. These could form a useful teaching aid to get students to consider the changing economy and its potential implications for the retail environment. The scenarios are brief but enough to allow students to explore one or more in detail and debate and predict how the future might look and the consequential impacts this might have for retailing in the UK. They can also debate the perhaps controversial issues of retailers’ true commitments to sustainability issues rather than viewing them as business imperatives in the pursuit of their commercial goals.

David Wyld’s article entitled “Death sticks and taxes” examines the potential for radio frequency identification (RFID) to be used to tag cigarettes. This is an attempt to provide better inventory controls and also overcome cigarette smuggling. It may provide a useful illustration for teaching purposes by using the application of RFID technology within the context of contraband products, in this case, cigarettes. In addition, the resultant health and social benefits of tagging these products can be explored and highlighted. The beginning of the article provides an overview of RFID before exploring the global problem of counterfeit and contraband cigarettes. The issue is situated in the US, but can equally be considered in the context of other countries. The application of RFID to cigarettes is then examined from the perspective of various stakeholders: the tobacco companies, the retailers, public health officials and the consumers themselves. It concludes by arguing that RFID is an appropriate technological answer for smuggled goods, but that questions remain over whether labelling can be made cost effective.

Adelina Broadbridge

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