The phenomenal growth of ‘big box’ hypermarket retailing is a feature of the modern landscape. Vast, unlovely piles of metal, glass and plastic loom on the outskirts of our towns and cities, surrounded by prairies of asphalt that are home to herds of dozing sports utility vehicles. The cars in turn double as oversized, petrol-hungry shopping trollies. Places like this have become known as ‘dead zones’ in the USA, the nation that largely invented this retail lifestyle. The model is also reaching an apotheosis there, where town centres have become ghost towns, and even some Wal-mart stores are being closed and replaced with giant ‘supercenters’ that have parking spaces for 26,000 cars.