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Retail Centres Investigation

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Darren Marsh 11B G.C.S.E Geography Teacher-led Coursework Different retail centres have different spheres of influences depending on whether the goods or services they sell or provide are high order or low order. This concept can be explained much more clearly in a shopping hierarchy. This ranges from large regional shopping centres down to the local village or corner shop. At the bottom of the hierarchy are small shops selling low order convenience goods which are needed daily, such as food and newspapers. These shopping areas have a smaller sphere of influence compared to larger shopping centres, as people aren't prepared to travel far for their daily requirements, such as a newspaper. At the top of the hierarchy are shops selling high order, specialist goods, which are bought less frequently, such as furniture and video recorders. These larger shopping centres have a much larger sphere of influence compared to that of smaller shopping centres as people are more prepared to travel further for goods that they buy, perhaps, once every year or even less. Below is a diagram of a shopping hierarchy, which shows four types of different shopping centres and where they fit into the urban hierarchy. My aim is to study a variety of different shopping centres in Watford and discover whether the different retail centres have spheres of influence, which differ, in terms of size or shape. ...read more.


In Whippendell Road just less than 55% walked, 11% travelled by bus and 33% used a car. This slightly wider range of transports indicates how Whippendell Road has a slightly larger sphere of influence than Queens Avenue. The Harlequin Centre has a very wide range of transports and every available option was used. This shows that people have travelled from a reasonable distance to get there and therefore had to use various different modes of transport, such as train, bus and cycle. This indicates that the sphere of influence for the Harlequin Centre is large, and can be confirmed by looking at the sphere of influence maps. I used divided bar graphs to show how often people visited the shopping area. The larger the shopping centre is, the more high order goods and services there are likely to be. As people travel less often for higher order goods, there is more of a chance that they live further away, therefore don't make the trip that often. This indicates that the sphere of influence is larger for higher order shopping centres. In both Queens Avenue and Whippendell Road most visited the area daily or several times a week. This was because they lived locally and were only buying convenience goods. In the Harlequin Centre few visited daily, and those that did were buying lunch. Most travelled weekly suggesting a wider sphere of influence. ...read more.


Also, if we had collected more data by spending more time in the shopping areas we would have obtained more extensive results and we would be able to plot more accurate graphs and obtain more in depth conclusions. The available map to plot the sphere of influence for the Harlequin Centre was not big enough to plot all the points, as the sphere of influence was so large. Although the points plotted do underestimate the size of the sphere of influence for the Harlequin Centre I have got a substantial idea of the sphere of influence and the size and shape of it. With a larger map I would have got a slightly clearer idea of the sphere of influence, but the current size of the map is sufficient for my study and I have successfully compared the Harlequin Centre with Whippendell Road and Queens Avenue. Also, the conclusions that consumers choose the shortest distance to buy goods and services whatever the cost can also have limitations. Consumers may be more attracted by lower prices than by short journeys and many consumers are motivated by quality, service and ease of parking. The principle of "a range of a good or service" also has limitations. Some trips are made by the need to purchase more than one commodity so consumers travel further to get to their nearest hypermarket rather than make several different journeys locally to get the same products. ...read more.

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