Purpose – The overall aim of this research was to undertake an exploratory investigation to gain insights into attitudes and perceptions of supplier development and local sourcing programmes in the UK grocery retail sector. Design/methodology/approach – Since this research is exploratory in nature, a qualitative approach to data collection was undertaken using semi‐structured in‐depth interviews. Findings – Retailers do seem to be undertaking supplier development as defined in the literature but the data collected highlights some of the difficulties experienced by all suppliers in supporting grocery retailer category management and branding strategies. From this, local sourcing also implies the involvement of the micro‐enterprise producer. This has the potential for greater levels of power and trust imbalance. Research limitations/implications – The main research limitation was the small sample size. However, the research was exploratory and the sample was essentially convenience based. This resulted in over‐representation by the larger SME producer. The findings can be enhanced with further qualitative research focusing on the micro‐enterprise supplier. Originality/value – The paper offers an insight into the debate on SME supplier development and local sourcing by providing empirical evidence of the current shape and scope of the various initiatives in the UK grocery sector.
International Journal of Retail & Distribution Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 1, 2005
Keywords: Retail trade; Sourcing; Small to medium‐sized enterprises; United Kingdom
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