Retail history is a rich, cross-disciplinary field that demonstrates the centrality of retailing to many aspects of human experience, from the provisioning of everyday goods to the shaping of urban environments; from earning a living to the construction of identity. Over the last few decades, interest in the history of retail has increased greatly, spanning centuries, extending to all areas of the globe, and drawing on a range of disciplinary perspectives.  

By offering an up-to-date, comprehensive thematic, spatial and chronological coverage of the history of retailing, this Companion goes beyond traditional narratives that are too simplistic and Euro-centric and offers a vibrant survey of this field.

It is divided into four broad sections: 1) Contexts, 2) Spaces and places, 3) People, processes and practices and 4) Geographical variations. Chapters are written in an analytical and synthetic manner, accessible to the general reader as well as challenging for specialists, and with an international perspective.

This volume is an important resource to a wide range of readers, including marketing and management specialists, historians, geographers, economists, sociologists and urban planners.

chapter 1|12 pages


Global perspectives on retailing

part II|128 pages

Spaces and places

chapter 8|17 pages

High street/main street

chapter 9|18 pages

History of the department store

chapter 10|26 pages

The supermarket as a global historical development

Structures, capital and values

chapter 13|11 pages

Big-box stores

part III|129 pages

People, processes and practices

chapter 16|19 pages

Retail management

chapter 17|22 pages

Multiple retailers

chapter 19|21 pages

By mail and rail

A history of mail order commerce

part IV|153 pages

Geographical variations

chapter 21|18 pages

Retail history

United States and Canada

chapter 24|16 pages

Retailing in Australia and New Zealand

Historical perspectives through the distinctive lens of innovation

chapter 25|15 pages

History of retailing in Latin America

From the corner store to the supermarket

chapter 26|16 pages

Caravanserai to Carrefour

The retail history of the Middle East, 600–present

chapter 28|18 pages

Western models and Eastern influences

Japanese department stores in the early twentieth century

chapter 29|15 pages

Retailing in India

Strategic overview