Visualizing Retail Hot Spots in Canada
By Anita Zelic and Paul Dunphy
Competition plays a major role in shaping the contemporary retail environment. The competitive landscape reflects both the location and distribution of stores and the resulting concentrations of retail sales. In order to (i) observe the dynamics of the competitive environment and (ii) identify the development of retail hot spots, researchers can now examine changes in annual retails sales at the postal code level. Numerous factors can be used to interpret temporal variations in sales. These can include shifts in local demography, change in personal income levels, or new commercial developments. We have observed that the greatest increases in retail sales in Canada over the 1989-1998 period are located within selected 'hot spots'. This research letter, using data visualization and associated data mining techniques, links the growth in retail sales to the locational tendencies of the major retail formats in Canada and provides insights into the spatial characteristics of the new retail economy.