An important contribution to our understanding of the distribution of retail activities, particularly within cities, this book provides a critical review of the literature on the subject. It points out the major general propositions concerning retailing from the geographical point of view, and identifies key research problems, which need to be examined in order to push forward the frontiers of this sub field of economic geography. It presents a major critique of the central-place model, which has came to hold an important place in the methodology of economic geography, and clearly and decisively shows the model to be static, deterministic, retrospective and of little value for predictive purposes.
Scott also shows with regard to the question of the hierarchy of shopping centers (a major facet of central-place thought) that the methodology employed to identify these hierarchies rests on restricted theory, imperfect data, incomplete measures, and arbitrary decisions. Although he recognizes the value of some of the work associated with the central-place syndrome, the author presents the first effective antithesis to its beguiling and simplistic appeal. He argues that the geography of retailing cannot be understood without reference to the organization of retailing as an economic and social activity and complex patterns of consumer and entrepreneurial behavior, none of which are dealt with in central-place studies.
Distinguished by clarity of presentation objectivity of analysis and breadth of inter-disciplinary interest, this is the only book that covers the geography of retailing substantively and methodologically. This book is jargon and mathematics free, and contains the most complete bibliography on the geography of retailing available in a single volume the book. It will be of value to all social scientists concerned with retailing as a major activity, particularly in modern societies. It may be used as a basic or supplementary text for courses in economic geography, marketing and retailing.