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Last Update: 07-29-2015
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From Main Street to Mall:

The Rise and Fall of the American Department Store

Vicki Howard May 7, 2015
University of Pennsylvania Press

ISBN #978-0812247282

Copyright: 2015 - University of Pennsylvania Press

The geography of American retail has changed dramatically since the first luxurious department stores sprang up in nineteenth-century cities. Introducing light, color, and music to dry-goods emporia, these "palaces of consumption" transformed mere trade into occasions for pleasure and spectacle. Through the early twentieth century, department stores remained centers of social activity in local communities. But after World War II, suburban growth and the ubiquity of automobiles shifted the seat of economic prosperity to malls and shopping centers. The subsequent rise of discount big-box stores and electronic shopping accelerated the pace at which local department stores were shuttered or absorbed by national chains. But as the outpouring of nostalgia for lost downtown stores and historic shopping districts would indicate, these vibrant social institutions were intimately connected to American political, cultural, and economic identities.


Copyright: 2015 - University of Pennsylvania Press

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May 07,2015

Courtesy: Steve Glazer