Outline Nature of Supermarket Power on High Streets and Beyond

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This essay is summarising the studies and concept regarding supermarket power on high streets and beyond. From Wikipedia definition, “Supermarkets are usually mega-stores, a self-service shop offering a wide variety of food and household products, organized into aisles”. They usually are located outside of the city. High streets, in comparison, stands for a series of small shops, each of them selling their own specialties such as groceries, clothes, household, or electronics in the middle of the town. As described in Making Social lives, power can be defined as controlling or dominating an area by the size or strategy. I will start by trying to define the consumer society looking at Bauman concept and defend it using Peter Jackson study on retail parks. Then I will look at the market and buyer power that supermarkets have raised over the last decades and the consequences on the high streets. I will put in perspective those concepts using zero-sum and positive-sum concept and finally, I will look at the indirect consequences that the supermarkets behaviour have on their surroundings, as well as their consumers

Bauman (1988) has defined the society that we are living in as 2 groups of consumers, the “Seduced” and the “Repressed” referring to winners of looser of today’s world. The “Seduced” will use consumption not only to live but to create a positive identity. More than being able financially to enable this identity, they have a key characteristic of mobility. Those are valued members of society. In opposite, the “Repressed” have less or no mobility and/or are financially not capable of sustaining consumption to enable building a positive image of themselves and therefore do not contribute to the society, being left aside. This division has been put in evidence by Peter Jackson (1998) and showed that retails parks or supermarkets are attracting the “Seduced”, those with mobility and financial means and that high streets tend to have the “Repressed”, less...
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