Small Shops and Department Stores

Heinz‐Gerhard Haupt

in The Oxford Handbook of the History of Consumption

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561216
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Small Shops and Department Stores


Recent studies have carefully analysed the role of small shops and department stores, placing the emergence of department stores within the context of the broader changes that took place in the retail trade. This article looks at changes in the constellation of the retail trade, stressing the importance of consumer behaviour as both a factor influencing the trade and as a product of changes in the trade itself. It draws attention to the influence of the organization of shops upon consumers, and the effect of consumer attitudes upon the structure and appearance of the retailing trade. Furthermore, the article examines how much consumers adjusted to changing conditions of trade and the development of new retailing regimes, as well as the degree to which the trades themselves reacted to conditions in the labour market, the process of urbanization, and changes in consumer preferences. Finally, it discusses the triumph of self-service and supermarkets, the impact of retailing on time and space, the politics of retailing, and retailing as part of global history.

Keywords: small shops; department stores; retailing; consumer behaviour; consumers; labour market; urbanization; supermarkets; politics; consumer preferences

Article.  9415 words. 

Subjects: History

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