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Stores closures generate a ripple effect

Authors: Roberta Taramino*, Politecnico di Torino, Luigi Buzzacchi, Politecnico di Torino, Antonio De Marco, Politecnico di Torino, Giulio Zotteri, Politecnico di Torino
Topics: Urban Geography
Keywords: Vacant spaces; Urban retail system; Exit dynamics; Place attractiveness
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


More than ever before, traditional urban retail systems are endangered. On-line shopping, upsurges in competition, recession and market saturation are leading to the closure of physical stores throughout the city. If the presence of empty spaces within the urban tissue is an issue by itself, the closure of retailers is even worse. Indeed, they play a vital role on the liveability of a city by contributing to the vitality and the attractiveness of the neighborhood. Furthermore, the closure of retailers negatively interferes with the economic sustainability of the city and, thus, with its viability. As an even bigger problem, ripple effects might emerge as a consequence. Indeed, the agglomeration of empty spaces in a suburb tend to move consumers, that are more likely to purchase in attractive places, elsewhere. This consumers’ reaction might speed up the closure of retailers that are still active in that neighborhood which has become more and more unpleasant.
The paper investigates the exit dynamics of retailers in the context of urban systems with a specific focus on spatially clustered negative feedback mechanisms that are triggered by such emptying process of commercial space. Empirical tests have been developed around a wide dynamic dataset of commercial licenses in the second largest city in the North of Italy in order to assess the intensity of the negative spillover that closing a store may generate on nearby retailers and to estimate how infectious the closure of a store is on its neighbor retailers.

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