Central place practice: shopping centre attractiveness measures, hinterland boundaries and the UK retail hierarchy

Dennis, Charles, Marsland, David and Cockett, Tony (2002) Central place practice: shopping centre attractiveness measures, hinterland boundaries and the UK retail hierarchy. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 9 (4). pp. 185-199. ISSN 0969-6989

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0969-6989(01)00021-2

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Christaller's (Central Places in Southern Germany (translated by Baskin C (1966)), Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1933) well-known and much criticised ‘central place theory’ was based on classical, arguably unsustainable, economic assumptions such as the uniformity of consumers and travel. Nevertheless, it has been claimed that the emergence of shopping areas in UK towns could largely be explained in terms of central place principles (Retail Location: A Micro-Scale Perspective, Aldershot, Avebury, 1992). Brown drew support from the example of the retail hierarchy of Cardiff (UK, Store Location and Store Assessment Research, Chichester, Wiley, 1984): a town centre core radiating progressively further out with greater numbers of district centres, neighbourhood centres and finally local centres. Christaller's theory was based on rigid ‘laws of distribution of central places’ and ‘laws of settlement’ which ‘often determine[d] with astonishing exactness, the location of central places’ in southern Germany. Guy considered that for useful application to UK retail, a more flexible interpretation was needed and that strict economic assumptions could be relaxed in a more pragmatic approach. The ‘classical’ approach fails to account for the positions and hinterland (or catchment area) boundaries of modern out-of-town regional shopping centres. Except in defining the components of places at various levels in the hierarchy, Christaller did not even consider the attractiveness of shopping areas in consumer choice. A number of other authors have investigated various measures to define positions in the retail hierarchy. In the Cardiff example, Guy used retail sales floor area as a surrogate measure. Systems have been proposed based on numbers and status of retail outlets (The New Guide to Shopping Centres of Great Britain, Hillier Parker, London, 1991; Shopping Centres, Mintel, London, 1997; J. Property Res. 9 (1992) 122–160; J. Property Res. 9 (1985) 122–160). This paper evaluates the authors’ empirically based measurement system for attractiveness that can be applied to out-of-town as well as in-town shopping centres. The approach adapts previous simple systems based on retailer counts. These have been combined in attractiveness measurements applied to definitions of position in the hierarchy. Results support the prediction of central place hinterland boundaries based on the authors’ attractiveness measures and adaptation of (The Law of Gravitation, Knickerbocker Press, New York, 1931) ‘Law’. The data fit exemplar published empirical data on shopping centre hinterlands more closely than do the commonly used drive-time isochrones.

Keywords:Shopping centres, Central place, Hierarchy, Hinterlands, Catchment, Attractiveness
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N240 Retail Management
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:12974
Deposited On:17 Jan 2014 09:49

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