Locational research has long been concerned with industrial plants and the site selection of retail stores. The major determinants and decision processes now seem to be fairly well understood. Con sequently, the research frontier in retailing has shifted to a higher spatial level, the location of stores in the regional and national context. Certainly, stores tend to be found where the population is, but beyond this obvious truth it is by no means outright clear how retailing companies with different formats and home bases perceive space and how space affects their performance, if at all. When the question is put this way, what appears trivial at first undergoes a change and seems now complex enough to be worth a closer look. It need not be true, to cite the most obvious of examples, that regions which are attractive as places of living for high-school and college students, the custom ary data base, are also worthwhile from the business point of view. No attempt is made here to pen etrate the topic at analytical depth. The ambition is simply to discover, with the help of numerous descriptive examples, whether any order does exist in the high-level spatial behavior of retailing companies.
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