Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Geography & Environmental Studies
Faculty of Arts
Dr. Sean Doherty
Dr. Tony Hernandez
This dissertation examines the current state and evolution of retail location decision-making (RLDM) in Canada. The major objectives are: (i) To explore the type and scale of location decisions that retail firms are currently undertaking; (ii) To identify the availability and use of technology and Spatial Big Data (SBD) within the decision-making process; (iii) To identify the awareness, availability, use, adoption and development of SBD; and, (iv) To assess the implications of SBD in RLDM. These objectives were investigated by using a three stage multi-method research process. First, an online survey of retail location decision makers across a range of sizes and sub-sectors was administered. Secondly, structured interviews were conducted with 24 retail location decision makers, and lastly, three in-depth cases studies were undertaken in order to highlight the changes to RLDM over the last decade and to develop a deeper understanding of RLDM.
This dissertation found that within the last decade RLDM changed in three main ways: (i) There has been an increase in the availability and use of technology and SBD within the decision-making process; (ii) The type and scale of location decisions that a firm undertakes remain relatively unchanged even with the growth of new data; and, (iii) The range of location research methods that are employed within retail firms is only just beginning to change given the presence of new data sources and data analytics technology.
Traditional practices still dominate the RLDM process. While the adoption of SBD applications is starting to appear within retail planning, they are not widespread. Traditional data sources, such as those highlighted in past studies by Hernandez and Emmons (2012) and Byrom et al. (2001) are still the most commonly used data sources. It was evident that at the heart of SBD adoption is a data environment that promotes transparency and a clear corporate strategy. While most retailers are aware of the new SBD techniques that exist, they are not often adopted and routinized.
Aversa, Joseph M., "Spatial Big Data Analytics: The New Boundaries of Retail Location Decision-Making" (2019). Theses and Dissertations (Comprehensive). 2138.