Author

Washebek

Date of Award

12-2007

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Geography

First Advisor

Dr. Jordan Yin

Second Advisor

Dr. David S. Lemberg

Third Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Ofori-Amoah

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access

Abstract

My research will examine the spatial and demographic strategies of supercenter firms in the State of Michigan, namely those operated by Meijer, Inc. and Wal-Mart, Inc. The competitive nature of retailing in Michigan shifted heavily in 2000 when Wal-Mart brought its Supercenter format to Michigan, making it a direct competitor to Meijer, who has operated in Michigan since 1962. Within seven years, Wal-Mart expanded its Michigan Supercenter operations from one in 2000 to forty-five in 2007. In many cases, small towns throughout the state are supporting both Meijer and a Wal-Mart Supercenter. Heavy competition of this nature between two supercenter chains is unequaled anywhere else in the United States, making this an interesting and necessary study. This research examines the location strategies of Wal-Mart and Meijer in Michigan, and determines which chain, if either, has a distinct spatial and demographic advantage in the state. A thorough study of available business, spatial, economic, and demographic data supports this conclusion. The result of this research is the first comprehensive analysis of supercenter competition in the State of Michigan, and illustrates the very unique retail challenges existing there.

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