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Crisis-Response and Retail Change in Belfast City Centre

Stephen Brown


In recent years there have been dramatic changes in retail organisation, location and technique. While various models of retail evolution have been used to describe organisational and technological trends, changes in retail location have attracted little conceptual discussion hitherto. This paper describes recent locational developments in the commercial structure of a major Northern Irish city. Belfast, in terms of a crisis-response model of retail change. All four stages of the process: shock, defensive retreat, acknowledgement and adaption are discernible in the reaction of city traders to the perceived threat of planned shopping centres in outlying locations.

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