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Retail Parks: Spatial and Functional Integration of Retail Units in the Swansea Enterprise Zone

Rosemary D. F. Bromley and Colin J. Thomas
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers
Vol. 13, No. 1 (1988), pp. 4-18
DOI: 10.2307/622771
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/622771
Page Count: 15
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Retail Parks: Spatial and Functional Integration of Retail Units in the Swansea Enterprise Zone
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Abstract

Retail parks form an important new element in the retail system of British cities and constitute a significant modification to the traditional hierarchy of shopping centres. They comprise loose groupings of superstores and retail warehouses at highly accessible suburban and out-of-town locations. The relaxation of planning controls on retailing in a number of Enterprise Zones has encouraged such developments. The individual stores may function as largely separate entities or together as integrated shopping centres. However, considering the existing scale of such developments and the substantial commercial pressures for further schemes, evidence on this issue is lacking. The article outlines the general functional characteristics of retail parks before focussing on the shopping linkages between stores in the Swansea Enterprise Zone retail park. All the stores predominantly serve car-owning households drawn from a wide trade area. The retail park functions as a loosely structured collection of stores rather than as a strongly integrated shopping centre. The shopping linkages between stores demonstrate a low level of interrelationships and a functional dichotomy between the superstores and retail warehouses. Nevertheless, a number of significant functional linkages are identified reflecting comparison shopping, the spatial contiguity of some stores and 'spin-off' trips generated by a small number of key retail units. The commercial disadvantages of a peripheral site and the traffic congestion resulting from vehicular circulation within the retail park are apparent. The commercial and environmental advantages of an integrated spatial structure for future retail parks are stressed.

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