Participation in Alternative Retail Channels: A Choice or Necessity?
International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management, 2003, Vol. 31, No. 5, pp. 235-243.
9 Pages Posted: 26 Dec 2015
Date Written: 2003
The view that alternative retail channels (i.e., informal and/or second-hand modes of goods acquisition) are used out of economic necessity by disadvantaged consumers has been recently opposed by cultural theorists who instead read such channels in agency-orientated terms as places of fun, sociality, distinction, discernment, the spectacular and so forth. To evaluate these contrasting perspectives, this paper reports data from 350 interviews conducted in rural England. Finding that the agency-orientated view of alternative retail channels is valid amongst higher-income populations but economic necessity remains the principal motive amongst lower-income populations, this paper concludes that for a fuller understanding to be achieved, the dualistic either/or debates between those promulgating economic necessity and those emphasising choice need to be replaced by a both/and approach sensitive to the variations in the meanings of such channels.
Keywords: Informal sector, household work practices, livelihoods, economic development, England
JEL Classification: H26, J46, J48, K34, K42, O17
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation