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Business, the Environment and the Consumer 1968 - 1992: The Case of Marks and Spencer

Gray, Jessica Anne (2015) Business, the Environment and the Consumer 1968 - 1992: The Case of Marks and Spencer. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

The research addresses a central tension of modern society between materialism and retail expansion on the one hand and growing environmental awareness on the other, during the 1970s and 1980s. It does so through a study of the operations of Marks and Spencer, with comparative reference to other leading retailers, principally Sainsbury’s and the John Lewis Partnership. Marks and Spencer experienced a complex renegotiation of its relationship with the environment and resource use as it underwent rapid expansion and changes in the period 1968-1992. This has yet to be addressed by academics, especially in relation to the notable growth in environmental concern at this time. It is this changing retail context, as experienced by Marks and Spencer, coupled with the evolving significance of the broader environmental agenda, which this thesis addresses. It makes extensive use of the Marks and Spencer Company Archive to address the importance of the company’s changing commercial operations, its relationship with consumers, the government and British society more broadly, in shaping its approach to the environment and resource use. The thesis contributes to existing academic literature concerning retailing and the environment by illustrating the extent to which the environment was a highly constructed and negotiated retail concern, which invariably predated the environmental fervour of the late eighties and early nineties and the subsequent commercial clamour to be seen to be green. The research addresses Marks and Spencer’s response to environmental issues, its energy conservation efforts, its retail store development, as well as the internal and external environments of its stores. It shows how the relationship between retailers and the environment was shaped as much by the outlook and operations of individual retailers and the changing nature of modern retailing, as it was the wider environmental agenda and growing popular concern.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Marks and Spencer, the Environment, Environmental Concern, Energy Conservation, Planning, Store Development, Consumer Attitudes, Business History, Retail, Twentieth Century
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of History (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.686456
Depositing User: Miss Jessica Gray
Date Deposited: 02 Jun 2016 08:47
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2016 14:42
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/13124

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