Neil Wrigley is professor of geography at the University of Southampton.
Market Rules and Spatial Outcomes: Insights from the Corporate Restructuring of U.S. Food Retailing
Article first published online: 3 SEP 2010
1999 The Ohio State University
Volume 31, Issue 3, pages 288–309, July 1999
How to Cite
Wrigley, N. (1999), Market Rules and Spatial Outcomes: Insights from the Corporate Restructuring of U.S. Food Retailing. Geographical Analysis, 31: 288–309. doi: 10.1111/j.1538-4632.1999.tb00983.x
- Issue published online: 3 SEP 2010
- Article first published online: 3 SEP 2010
- Revised version accepted 12/17/98
In this paper a study of the corporate restructuring of the U.S. food retail industry, during and following the period of regulatory relaxation and high-leverage capital transformations of the 1980s, is used to interrogate the complex relationships between market regulation, investment regimes, corporate strategies, and spatial outcomes. It is shown that changes in the “rules” governing investment and competition in the United States in the 1980s triggered countervailing spatial processes in the food retail industry. Those processes took more than a decade to work themselves through, but by the late 1990s a radically altered corporate landscape was beginning to emerge. In particular, consolidation of the industry had finally gained momentum–creating an industry whose leading firms are likely by 2002 to have a market share double the level of the early 1990s. The paper concludes by considering the insights which a consideration of corporate restructuring and regulation in this U.S. industry offers for some important areas of conceptual debate in economic geography. In particular, it is argued that industries in which capital structure transformations of the firm must be confronted and treated as a central issue have an intrinsic, but until recently neglected, importance in theoretical debate in the discipline.