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Understanding Resilience in a Vulnerable Industry: A Case of Retailing in a Mountain Resort Community

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The retail landscape is continually subject to changing market trends and conditions. Increasingly researchers use resilience concepts to understand how retail systems adapt and respond to change, which can help communities and retailers better anticipate and prepare for the inevitable altering conditions. This project analyzes local stakeholder perceptions to understand aspects of resilience and vulnerability in the context of Whistler BC’s destination retail system. Through qualitative interviews and an online survey of local retailers, this research identified factors perceived as influential to local retail sector performance. The study highlights Whistler’s retail system elements that link to its resilience and vulnerability, including components of its retail sector composition; customer qualities; local social, physical, and economic conditions; and its governance processes. This investigation offers an original Destination Retail Resilience Framework that integrates resilience and vulnerability concepts drawn from relevant literature, for application within a resort retail system.
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