University of Washington
Geography 350: Marketing and Retail Geographies
5 credits; Writing intensive
Spring Quarter 2010

Geography 350 is an introductory course in the geography of retailing and consumer behavior. The focus will be on methods of analyzing market areas at multiple scales. In addition, students will review work in the cultural-geographic interpretation of retailing and marketing. Empirical examples will focus on the US and UK, but additional international information will be included. 

Professor JW Harrington, Geography, University of Washington
Office: 416C Smith Hall
Office Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays 1:30-2:30pm, and by appointment
Contact:; 206-616-3821
Class Meetings:  Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11:30am – 1:20pm
242 Mechanical Engineering Building

By the end of the course, a successful student will be able to:
• understand basic methods of retail area analysis, store siting, and spatial competition;
• provide a cultural interpretation of retailing and retail analysis;
• interpret consolidation trends and innovation in retailing;
• use basic methods of retail area analysis, store siting, or spatial competition in a self-designed project;
• identify and use data sources that help in retail location analysis;
• describe some implications of e-commerce for the retail and wholesale sectors.

Reading will be drawn primarily from two required texts (J&S; W&L) and other readings:
Dunne et al. Dunne, P.M., Lusch, R.F., and Griffith, D.A. 2002. Ch.7, Market selection and retail location analysis, in Retailing, 4th ed. Mason, OH: South-Western. e-reserve
J&S Jones, K. and Simmons, J. 1990. The Retail Environment. London: Routledge. University Bookstore
L&W Levy, M. and Weitz, B. 1998. Ch.9, Site selection, in Retailing Management, 3rd ed. Boston: Irwin McGraw-Hill. e-reserve
T&D Thrall, G.I. and del Valle, J.C. 1996. William Applebaum: father of marketing geography. GeoInfoSystems 6 (Sept.): 50-54. e-reserve
Thrall et al. Thrall, G.I., del Valle, J.C., and Hinzmann, G. 1998. Applying the seven-step site selection methodology to Red Lobster restaurants. GeoInfoSystems 8, various issues. e-reserve
W&L Wrigley, N. and Lowe, M. 2002. Reading Retail: A Geographic Perspective on Retailing and Consumption Spaces. London: Arnold. University Bookstore
Other articles are cited in the Schedule below and are available on the public internet or through UW Libraries online.

Students will write four 500-word briefs and one problem set, described in the Schedule below, and a 2500-word research paper (from a list of topics) relating to retail analysis or interpretation (including identifying information sources and analytic methods).  Follow the style guide for the preferred method of citation (the CSE style) which is also used in this syllabus, above and at the end), and notes about spelling, grammar, and syntax pitfalls.  See the UW Libraries' resource site for this course.

There will be two short, in-class tests.

Grading assignments. Each assignment will be graded on a percentage basis. Content, clarity, writing, and format all count in the grading of the assignments:  see the instructor's more explicit statement about grading research papers. Be especially careful about plagiarism: more than three words in the order you read them somewhere else (including on the WWW, including my own lecture notes) must be set off in quotation marks and given a full citation.

Late assignments. Assignments are due at the beginning of the specified class period; 20% of the assignment's value will be deduced for material submitted after the specified class but by the following class period; 50% of the assignment's value will be deducted for material submitted later than this, until 5:00 p.m. Tuesday 8 June.

Final grades. The final grade for the course will be calculated as follows. Each graded item can contribute up to a specified number of points toward the quarter's total that can equal up to 100 points. Each student’s final grade reflects the number of these 100 points the student has earned during the quarter.

                    Schedule of Assignments and Points
Four 500-word briefs & 1 problem set @ 5 points each 25 points
Two tests @ 20 points each 40 points
Research paper
35 points
100 points

Total scores (on a scale of 0 - 100) will translate into final grades (on a scale of 0.0 - 4.0) approximately according to the scale below: the instructor may be more lenient than this.

Schedule of Points and Grades
90-100 points
3.6 - 4.0
75- 89 points
2.5 - 3.5
60- 74 points
1.5 - 2.4
50- 59 points
0.7 - 1.4
 0- 50 points

Incomplete work. [From the University Registrar's website] A grade of “I” (Incomplete) is given only when the student has been in attendance and has done satisfactory work until within two weeks of the end of the quarter and has furnished proof satisfactory to the instructor that the work cannot be completed because of illness or other circumstances beyond the student's control. To obtain credit for the course, an undergraduate student must convert an Incomplete into a passing grade no later than the last day of the next quarter. The student should never reregister for the course as a means of removing the Incomplete. An Incomplete grade not made up by the end of the next quarter is converted to the grade of 0.0 by the Registrar unless the instructor has indicated, when assigning the Incomplete grade, that a grade other than 0.0 should be recorded if the incomplete work is not completed. The original Incomplete grade is not removed from the permanent record.

SCHEDULE (numbers in the "Readings" column refer to chapters unless marked "pp." for pages)
Tu 3/30
I.   Key trends and concepts
     A. Overall introduction
     B. Trends in retail activity
     C. Marketing and geography
Census handout

J&S 1

Th 4/ 1
     D. Retail actors and trends
     E. Introduction to supply chains
J&S 3
W&L 3
urban rent gradients
Brief 1 due (autobiography)
Tu 4/ 6
     F. Markets, consumers, space, and places
J&S 2, 4
Dunne et al. pp.225-30
spatial interaction
product differentiation

Th 4/ 8
        1. Signaling the desired consumer
W&L 1, 9

Tu 4/13
Finding data and info sources for project research

Meet in Allen Library Auditorium
Th 4/15
No class meeting: work on project proposals

Tu 4/20
     G. Central place theory
J&S 5
L&W pp.276-7
Brief 2 due (project topic, approach, data sources)
Th 4/22
II. Retail location analysis
     A. Regional scale

     B. Market-area analyses
         1. Assume spatial monopoly
             a) Method 1: non-analytic approaches
             b) Analytic approaches that assume the size of the market area
                 (1) How to identify market areas?
                       Method 2: rules of thumb 

                       Method 3: consider competing locations: Theissen polygons and Reilly's law

L&W pp.255-66;
Thrall et al. Intro, I, II, V

J&S pp.346-7

J&S pp.347-53

J&S pp.353-4
Dunne et al. pp.252-3

Thrall et al. VI
Dunne et al. pp.242-8 L&W 274-7

Tu 4/27
                 (2) How to select a good market area?
                      Method 4: desired attributes
                      Method 5: analog methods                              Method 6: geodemographics            
L&W pp.268-74
Thrall et al. III
links to useful sites
Dunne et al. pp.253-6

Th 4/29
Review the 6 methods
Presentation: Retail-outlet location analyses
Dunne et al. pp.239-42
Brief 3 due (describe the 6 methods: when & how to use each)
Tu 5/ 4
II. B. 2. Assume shared market areas: market interpenetration
             a) Method 7: saturation index

             b) Determine the primary market area
                 (1) Method 8: Customer spotting

                 (3) Method 9: Probabilistic market areas: the Huff model
                 (4) Compare geodem char'cs of possible market areas
J&S pp.364-5
Thrall et al. IV
L&W pp.267-8
Stevens Pt. study

J&S pp.355-61
notes on prim mkt areas

L&W pp.277-9
Dunne et al. pp.248-52
Dunne et al. pp.253-6

Th 5/ 6
II. B. 3. Method 10: targeting promotion activity to dispersed markets
J&S pp.361-71
Problem set due (L&W pp.280-1, #1 & 9)
Tu 5/11
TEST: Mkt-area analyses & "reading retail"
Presentation: Customer-spotting & data mining

In-class test
Th 5/13
II. C. Site location
         1. Characterizing site types

         2. Site requirements
         3. Situational constraints

J&S 7 & 10;  Dunne et al. pp.231-9, 258-63

Tu 5/18
III. Consumption places and spaces

IV. Geographic disparity: urban food deserts
W&L 10-13
J&S pp.224-5
Pearce et al. 2007

Th 5/20
V.  Non-store retailing
      A. Retail channels
      B- E-tailing

VI. Marketing "ideas"

Brief 4 due (project update)

In-class activity
Tu 5/25
VII. Distribution & distribution channels

VIII.Public investment, public regulation, and private retailing
Bowen 2008

J&S 13;  W&L 6

Th 5/27
IX. Corporate restructuring

X. Geographic restructuring of retail
W&L 2

J&S 8;  W&L 7

Tu 6/ 1
XI.   Internationalization of retailing

W&L pp.159-70
Wang 2009
Wang & Chan 2007, pp.585-95

Th 6/ 3
Presentation: International marketing
Review Q's: Dunne et al. pp.264-8

In-class test
Mon 6/7
Papers due by 5PM (no class meeting)

Papers due

1Pearce, J., Blakely, T., Witten, K., and Bartie, P.  2007.  Neighborhood deprivation and access to fast-food retailing: a national study.  Amer. J. of Preventive Medicine 32(5): 375-82.  Access this through UW Libraries e-journals.

2Bowen, J.T.  2008.  Moving places: the geography of warehousing in the US.  J. of Transport Geography 16: 379-87.  Access this through UW Libraries e-journals.

3Wang, S.  2009.  Foreign retailers in post-WTO China: stories of success and setbacks.  Asia-Pacific Business Review 15(1): 59-77.  Access this through UW Libraries e-journals.

4Wang, E. and Chan, K.W.  2007.  Store wars: changing retail ownership in Beijing.  Eurasian Geography and Economics 48(5): 573-602.  Access this through UW Libraries e-journals.

copyright James W. Harrington
revised 1 June 2010