§ Mr. Gordon Prentice
To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what studies he has commissioned to ascertain the reasons why retailers in small towns cease trading. 
§ Sir Paul Beresford
None specifically. However, research that we have previously commissioned on the effects of major out-of-town retail development, the impact of the Merry Hill regional out-of-town shopping centre, and on vital and viable town centres, and research we propose on the impact of superstores on market towns and district centres, all seek to address this issue among others.