Document Type

Conference Paper


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


Business and Management.

Publication Details

European Institute of Retailing & Services Studies Conference Proceedings


The turbulence of environmental change is a constant challenge for the modern retailer. It acts as a Jeckyl and Hyde change agent in that it presents opportunities for the entrepreneurial firm or is ever threatening for the reactive enterprise. The law of natural selection which dictates that firms ‘adapt to this turbulence or die’, is a reality. The firm must work within parameters of ever increasing environmental change and its ability to anticipate this change becomes a prerequisite for survival. Mathur argues that markets are not a given, that it is firms which dictate the market environment through their generic strategies. Competition therefore shapes the particular business environment. The alternative view, the environmental approach to retail change articulated by Brown 1995 suggests that changes in the economic, demographic, social, cultural, legal and technological conditions of the marketplace are reflected in the structure of retailing. The Irish marketplace has seen wholesale change during the past decades. Technological change has advanced at a phenomenal rate, the Irish consumer has changed in terms of demography, sophistication and lifestyle, and the economic environment has changed beyond recognition. All of these factors have been instrumental in changing the dynamic of the Irish retail sector as a whole. As the new millennium beckons, it seems an appropriate time to reflect on these changes, suggest their effect on the Irish retail sector, and anticipate some future changes.