52nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regions in Motion - Breaking the Path", 21-25 August 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia
Commercial sector, during the times of centrally planned economy was particularly neglected in Poland, as in all Eastern European countries. Economic transformation and political changes in the country after 1989 induced the development of the commercial sector. The subjects of the research are changes in commercial sector after the economic transformation. With the liberalization of legislation on running business traditional small shops started to develop rapidly. Polish market was underinvested, so every shop was profitable. The reason of author's interest in the subject was a popular statement about the negative effects of modern shopping structures on the existing traditional shops. With the development of capitalism in Poland privatized commercial sector encountered various difficulties e.g. competition from foreign investors and increasing demands of consumers. Author has researched the nearly 3'000 traditional shops and nearly 40 modern shopping structures. In the research various parameters were analyzed such as: localization of the shop in town, start and end date of business. The period of the study covers the years 1990-2010, all the shops were located in several towns in southwestern Poland. The aim of this paper is to find answers to the following questions: - What was the dynamics of the process of traditional shops localization in the researched 20 years? - In which areas of the analyzed towns economical activity is growing, and in which many shops are being closed? - Do modern shopping structures have a negative effect on the existing market? The results suggest that the number of shops in the 1990s was growing rapidly. Furthermore, since the year 2000 number of small shops has remained constant or decreased. Modern shopping structures were mostly built and started operating after 2000, therefore they are not responsible for decreasing number of small shops – the process began earlier. Changes that take place in commercial sector reflect the society that is using it. The society decides which formats will prevail. The development of modern shopping structures and traditional shops should be closely monitored in the future. Systematical research on this subject will be helpful for investors and local authorities that look after the urban environment.
commercial activity spatial structure modern shopping structures urban environment