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Analysing the spatial pattern of retail store locations in the urban environment of accra using GIS

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Abstract 

The rapid expansion of the retail sector in the last two decades has led to an unprecedented proliferation of retail stores, particularly in cities in developing countries. This trend has been particularly evident in Accra, Ghana's capital city, where residential neighborhoods have increasingly become a haven for the location of retail stores. To understand the distribution patterns and drivers, the study used a complementary mixed-method approach involving geographical information systems (GIS) analyses, semi-structured interviews with retailers and institutional stakeholders, and field observations in three residential areas of varying income levels. The results of the study showed that the geographical pattern of retail stores is predominantly clustered along road networks, near supplementary businesses, and in areas with high levels of population density. The study also reveals that the distribution of retail stores is unplanned, however, the locations of stores reflect retailers' carefully evaluated decision-making processes based on observations and experiences, including proximity to customers, existing clusters of retail stores, and minimisation of competition. The paper highlights the importance of considering retail locations in city growth and underscores the role of GIS in urban commercial space design and planning. It also highlights the unplanned but strategic distribution of retail stores in the neigbourhoods. We conclude that retailing has become an essential fabric of cities, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, and therefore recommended that future redevelopment should make provision for retail store locations in residential areas for sustainable city growth.

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Notes

  1. Store refer to outlets such as kiosk, containers, table top, buildings, open space, etc., where retailing is taking place.

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Hogba, E., Yiran, G.A.B. Analysing the spatial pattern of retail store locations in the urban environment of accra using GIS. GeoJournal 89, 102 (2024). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10708-024-11104-8

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