Document Type

Book Chapter


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Business and Management., Social issues, Environmental sciences (social aspects, 6.5 OTHER HUMANITIES

Publication Details

Maughan, R. and A. O’Driscoll (2012), ‘Rethinking community-based retailing’, in E. O’Callaghan and D, O’Riordan, eds., Retailing in Ireland: Contemporary Perspectives, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, pp. 40-46.


One of the areas with great potential for economic, social and environmental benefit is community-based retailing. The concept of community based retailing can incorporate a number of different tenets. We suggest that it is retailing that is based close to the community it serves, usually within the town or village centre rather than out-of-town locations, and which is composed of a diverse range of small and medium sized business that are often independently or co-operatively owned. These community-based businesses form part of the social and community infrastructure.

We first of all explore the broad benefits of community-based retailing. We focus on local food where local food economies in combination with community-based retailing can help to combat ‘food desserts’, areas (usually low income areas) with little or no access to affordable, nutritious food. We examine the, at times, vexed role of multiples in community-based retailing, and consider the future, in particular retailing and sustainability issues. The retailer is perceived as a key gatekeeper or catalyst in achieving sustainability outcomes for a wide range of stakeholders. If the retailer adopts sustainability practices, his customers, as well as his suppliers, will be encouraged, or have little choice but, to follow suit.