The Competitive Behaviors of Small Retailers: Examining the Strategies of Local Merchants in Rural America


  • Michael J. Rubach University of Central Arkansas
  • Jeffery E. McGee The University of Texas at Arlington


Mass merchandisers, discount  chain  stores,  category  killers,  and e-commerce  are  changing the retail industry through innovations in marketing and service. Driven by increased competition and discriminating  customers,  small,  local  retailers  are  searching for  ways  to gain and sustain competitive advantage. This study examines the competitive behaviors and performances of 236 retailers located in rural Nebraska. The findings indicate that retailers which adopted competitive behaviors with a goal of low cost/low price leadership were most successful. However, retailers using a combination or value-oriented strategy were also successful. Retailers which adopted competitive behaviors that constitute solely a differentiation strategy and those which had no clearly defined strategy were the worst performers. These findings suggest that in order to achieve competitive advantage,  rural retailers should follow a value-oriented strategy, being effective at both cost reduction and competitive pricing  while  offering  unique products  and services.


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How to Cite

Rubach, M. J., & McGee, J. E. (2001). The Competitive Behaviors of Small Retailers: Examining the Strategies of Local Merchants in Rural America. Journal of Small Business Strategy (archive Only), 12(2), 65–81. Retrieved from