Abstract: By investigating the occurrence of place innovative synergies between retail and tourism in a small-sized Swedish city, this article advances knowledge on how city center attractiveness can be enforced in a rural context with competing online shopping and suburban/out-of-town shopping centers. Previous studies of city center attractiveness, place innovation, and social innovation help distinguish innovative intertwinement of correlated trends of experiencing retail and retailing experiences, augmenting customer experiences through place-based characteristics. Interviews, workshops, and participatory observations with entrepreneurs, business promoters, and municipality representatives reveal three dimensions of place innovative synergies in city center attractiveness: 1) innovative variance in city center retail and tourism, 2) innovative interwovenness between the city center identity and its configuration, content, and communication, and 3) innovative interaction between retailers and tourism entrepreneurs in city center events. A key question is whether synergies in temporal events and everyday commerce are sufficiently combined, in order to engender encompassing renewal.
Keywords: attractiveness; city center; city identity; innovation; retail; Sweden; synergy; tourism