Impact of Box Stores in the Exurban Region: Case Study of a Large Metropolitan Region, Toronto, Canada

Authors: Oskaycan Turanoglu*, Ryerson University, Brian Ceh, Ryerson University, Nana Ntim, Ryerson University
Topics: Business Geography, Economic Geography, Urban Geography
Keywords: box-store, walmart, Toronto, retail
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Bacchus, Marriott, River Tower Elevators, 4th Floor


The adverse impact of box stores on the rural and exurban location is thought to be particularly harmful to retail growth in nearby places. It has been found that box stores in the rural area has contributed to the boarding up and abandonment of small town retail. In this study, we examine the location of box stores in the exurban region of Toronto, Canada. This is a region that is classified as being somewhat rural and with small towns of less than 30 thousand persons. Examining retail and commercial activity in the entire exurb and for selected towns and townships revealed that the presence of box stores has not had an adverse impact on commercial activity for Toronto’s exurban region. It is plausible that this positive outcome might be attributed to the fact the study area is within proximity to a growing and prosperous metropolitan region. The findings do defy however what might be expected from a semi-rural study region being largely unaffected by box store growth. It is possible that box stores that are situated in rural areas and which are in proximity to large cities have a different regional impact than those that occupy different geographic conditions.

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