Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Interpreting the Early Stages of the Self-service Revolution in Europe: the Modernization of Food Retailing in Spain, 1947-1972

Maixe-Altes, J Carles (2009): Interpreting the Early Stages of the Self-service Revolution in Europe: the Modernization of Food Retailing in Spain, 1947-1972.

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Abstract

This article explores the Americanisation of food retailing in Spain while making a running comparison with developments in Britain and more especially, within the development of self-service techniques. This international comparison helps to ascertain the evolution and modernisation of food retailing in two distinct competitive environments. The aim of this study is to understand how Americanisation and retail innovation take place in a late-comer like Spain in the early stages of the self-service revolution. The comparison between Spain and the UK facilitates how different starting points favoured differentiated entrepreneurial options which, finally led to similar positions or modes of development. The Americanization of Spanish retailing is assessed against the backdrop of developments elsewhere in Europe. New archival evidence allows us to highlight specific aspects of the path to the Spanish modernization of food distribution. In addition to American aid, there were other elements that were crucial to the modernization process, chief among these being the contacts between Spanish and European businessmen and the influence of voluntary chains of cooperation.

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