Saving countryside shops – does the special operating support work?

In 2015 the Swedish government decided to implement the special operating support for grocery stores in vulnerable and exposed rural areas. The operating support could have slowed down the process of closedowns of grocery stores but other factors could also have had an impact. It is for example possible that the general economic development, an increase in local demand or an increase in the local population affected grocery store survival. To evaluate if the special operating support has slowed down the process of grocery store closedowns a deeper analysis is called for.

Our purpose is to investigate how the special operating support affect the survival of grocery stores. We will also investigate if the support affect other economic factors of grocery stores, such as turnover and the number of employees. The results are of interest for decision makers that attempt to prevent shop closures in rural areas as part of achieving aims of regional policies.

The project is co-financed by the research project “The Death and Life of Rural Retail in Sweden” that run for three years (2021-2023). The latter is in cooperation with researchers from the Research Institute for Industrial Economics (IFN) and Lund University and is financed by Hakon Swenson Stiftelsen. We expect to finalise the first part of the project in spring 2022.

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