The Institutions of the German Retail Sector – A Historical and Comparative Institutionalist Analysis of a German Non-core Industry
Dr. Michael Wortmann
Several partners in Germany, France, the UK and Italy
1.10.2014 - 30.9.2016
Funding Body / Own Project
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
German retailing as a typical non-core industry greatly differs from the country’s core manufacturing industries. Within retailing, formats and business models also vary greatly between countries: The German grocery sector is dominated by hard discounters; in France it is hypermarkets and in the UK it is superstores that have a similar position, while in Italy supermarkets are the leading format. Other variations exist in terms of ownership structures (incl. family businesses and consumer or retailers’ cooperatives), the use of labour (full-/part-time, male/female), more or less conflictive supplier relationships for branded products and private labels, vocationally trained and unskilled labour, the strength of trade unions and works councils, and many others.
The research project takes an institutionalist approach focussing on laws, regulations and other institutions that have shaped the retail industry. It takes historical and comparative perspectives in order to reconstruct and explain the development of retailing and its institutions, as well as the political struggles behind these.
It focuses on six institutional domains:
The empirical research combines different approaches and methods
Project proposal PDF