Konsekvenser av dagligvaruhandelns strukturomvandling: slutrapport

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The structural changes in retailing towards out-of-town establishments during the latest decades have profoundly affected the attractiveness of towns and cities and the urban transport system. Increasing car-usage and dependence, decreasing production of retail services in residential areas, degeneration of inner cities and costly revitalisation programs, reduced demand for public transport with negative consequences for quality, are some of the factors that can be observed and, in part, linked to the changes in retailing. Increasing access and usage of the car, in combination with a historic record of accommodating town planning, has enhanced the exploitation of scale economies within distribution firms. The research questions dealt with in this study concern the overall economic efficiency of grocery distribution systems in towns and cities. This main focus is tackled from two complementary perspectives: The construction of a spatial general optimisation model capable of evaluating the social costs associated with different distribution systems in urban areas and stated-preference studies with postal questionnaires to individuals with the aim to describe and analyse the demand for different services produced by grocery stores. It is plausible to assume that the ongoing trend towards more out-of-town stores and increasing car-dependence among consumers in grocery retailing will continue. The large economies of scale at firm level are of course a powerful force behind the structural changes. Moreover, the result from the model based cost analysis indicates that the total social distribution cost will decrease if the large stores increase their market share in typical Swedish cities. The cost savings in the firms will overcompensate for the costs associated with more participation from the households, as long as the street network is not severely congested. However, the result from the study also shows that there are efficiency problems in grocery retailing when the service production supplied by different types of stores is focused. The hypothesis that social dilemmas influence households' choice of store is supported by the results. The results also show that individuals living in the same residential area have different preferences about the demanded level of retailing service in the local surroundings. By using regression models, and other methods, it is possible to link the differences in preferences to socioeconomic background variables and actual purchasing behaviour.  

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