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Schwerin: Strukturen und Probleme des Einzelhandels einer Großstadt in den neuen Ländern

Schwerin: structures and problems of retail trade of a major city in the New Federal States
[journal article]

Ahrens, Sven

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Abstract After the reunification of Germany, the Schwerin retail trade sector experienced a considerable growth in retail floorspace. However, several problems become clearly apparent during the analys is of the stock structures. In this context, the supply of retail trade is characterised by both qualitative and quantitative deficiencies: the stock of business is not great enough and insufficiently differentiated for a satisfaction of the demand. The company structures reveal a disproportional share of small and the smallest companies, faced with but a few expansive firms. The latter contributed to the build up of a secondary trade network and therefore to the unbalanced distribution of the sales areas. The negative consequences affect primarily the city centre retail trade, which dropped far behind the development of the rest of the city. It reveals considerable deficits with regards to important sales parameters and framework conditions: not all leading ranges of goods are sufficiently represented, customer magnets can hardly be found, the stock of businesses is too small and too spread out, there are numerous vacancies, the appearance and the quality of locations are not satisfactory. The interurban centre structure also reveals deficits. Based on the trade institutions which were established during the times of the GDR, there is a dense network of housing estate-orientated business centres for the basic supply. This leads to the achievement of high supply levels. However, resulting from the inadequate facilities of the centres, the qualitative grade of supply is poor and the satisfacti on of the population is equally low. This is also mirrored in the purchasing behaviour of the Schwerin inhabitants. They primarily visit the locations close to their place of residence as a result of the proximity, however seek further orientation in the new shopping centres, other peripheral locations and other cities, in addition to the city centres. The consumer behaviour in this context essentially corresponds with the patterns in the old Federal States: price consciousness and "boot of the car purchasing" for the basic supply, coupled with visits to attractive shopping centres for the satisfaction of other needs. The visit to the city centre is often linked to other activities, often of recreational nature. However, the supply wishes expressed by the consumers reveal that an improved neighbourhood supply and an attractive city centre are desired. The guidelines of the future deve lopment include a polycentral, interurban centre structure as well as the increase in attractiveness and revitalisation of the city centres through the creation of a comprehensive and attractive overall offer. This also means the restrictive handling of the peripheral, expansive retail trade in order to create balanced proportions within the trade networks. New settlements are to be concentrated on the city centre and the integrated business centres, with full exploitation of the settlement potential and taking into consideration the deficits.
Keywords Federal Republic of Germany; New Federal States; Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania; urban geography; retail trade; town; structural change; reunification; urban development; city center; organizational structure; supply; consumption behavior; satisfaction
Classification Economic Sectors; Area Development Planning, Regional Research; Sociology of Settlements and Housing, Urban Sociology; Sociology of Economics
Free Keywords Schwerin
Document language German
Publication Year 1996
Page/Pages p. 32-44
Journal Europa Regional, 4.1996 (1996) 4
ISSN 0943-7142
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications