Spatial Analysis and Implications of Cross-County Food and Retail Sectors in Virginia
Wibowo, Rulianda P
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In the past decade, retail trade underwent a tremendous transformation leading to retail market concentration and a shift from small retail stores to big box retailers and, to online shopping. The retail spending patterns were greatly influenced by the change in consumers’ perspectives for a one-stop shopping experience at big box retailers. The ease and convenience of internet shopping led to a bigger leap, and a second paradigm shift in retail sales. The next frontier in retail sales is a shift away from internet shopping on the computer to a dynamic shopping experience on mobile phones and tablets, based on interests, preferences and geographical location of the consumer. The challenge for retailers is to increase their market shares by targeting customers on these new and emerging avenues. This study focuses on understanding and explaining consumer trends and the underlying causes of the transformation in the retail sector across 134 counties and cities in Virginia, a state with a $383 billion economy comparable in size to Saudi Arabia. The study examines retail trade and the underlying spatial patterns in Virginia over the past twenty years and evaluate the roles of critical factors in retail trade transformation across the state. A good understanding of the trade flow is crucial to policy makers in the counties and cities and, to economic planners and potential investors, within and outside the state.