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Graff to Present Gabler Lecture on Kmart, Target and Wal-Mart

February 9, 2006

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MACOMB, IL - - Western Illinois University’s geography department will host Thomas Graff, associate professor at University of Arkansas, as this year’s Robert Gabler Lecturer. Graff will present “Unequal Competition Among Chains of Supercenters: Kmart, Target and Wal-Mart” at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17 in Morgan Hall 109.

Graff will examine the locations of and the competition among Kmart, Target, and Wal-Mart supercenters. He will also discuss that in contrast to Wal-Mart and Kmart, Target has focused on a middle-class rather than a blue-collar clientele. According to Graff, Wal-Mart has largely defeated its supercenter competitors and now is confronting the major grocery chains for grocery sales.

Graff received his M.A. (1970) and B.S. (1969) from Western Illinois University in geography and his Ph.D. from University of Kansas (1973). For the past 15 years he has researched the geography of retail activities, with particular emphasis on Wal-Mart.

The Gabler Lecture is named for Robert Gabler who served as chairperson of the Western’s geography department and as director of international programs. He is the author of numerous books including “Introduction to Physical Geography,” “Essentials of Physical Geography” (now in its seventh edition), and “Human Geography: People Cultures and Landscapes.” He is a past-president of both the Illinois Geographical Society and the National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE). The recipient of NCGE’s George J. Miller Distinguished Service Award, Gabler was named one of the “Leaders in American Geography” by Barton and Karan’s 1992 book of the same name.

This lecture is open free to the public.

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