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Persistence of Traditional Retailing in an Island Town

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Author(s): S. Selvadurai | R. Moorthy | N. Lyndon | A. C. Er

Journal: American Journal of Economics and Business Administration
ISSN 1945-5488

Volume: 3;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 450;
Date: 2011;
Original page

Keywords: Traditional retailing | island town | economic development | pre-modern institutions | island economy | family business

ABSTRACT
Problem statement: The convergence of modern retail formats in the developing world is resisted by the persistence of traditional retail formats. The issue of lower-circuit and middle-circuit in traditional retail trade in the modernizing urban arena has raise debates about its co-existence in different cultural and geographical settings. The aim of this study is to examine the persisting organizational features of sundry and general store retail trade in Labuan town, East Malaysia. Approach: A descriptive design using qualitative approach is utilized. Data is collected from a series of recursive informal interview from a total of 14 sundry and general retailers. Data is analyzed from themes derived from narrative account. Results: The findings reveal that the persistence of traditional retailing can be characterized by family business and the stability of sole proprietorship, coupled with the prevalence of independent outlets. The reasons attributed to the persistence of traditional retailing are a combination of organizational capacity factors of the retail traders and the situational context of the island economy. Conclusion: Island towns have a unique capacity to preserve certain retail trades that are under threat in conventional geographical context. This implies that the island with porous borders, not only have a confluence of external influence, but can sustain economic cultures. Future research can explore the persistence of cultural goods in these sundry and general stores to see the extent to which diverse socio-economic market structures are served.
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