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CATEGORY KILLERS (The Retail Revolution and its impact on Consumer Culture)

The category killer retail giants such as Barnes & Noble, PetSmart and Circuit City have rewritten the retail playbook, argues Robert Spector, in his book 'Category Killers'

By: Robert Spector
Published by: Harvard Business School Press
Hardcover, 221 Pages

Robert Spector's Category Killers - book on the retail revolution

How the Changing Face of Retail Has Altered Our World. Retail has always been a game of survival of the fittest. Mom-and –pop stores succumbed to department stores, which in turn were battered by shopping malls and discounters. But no retail concept has been more profoundly disruptive than category killers- “big-box” specialty stores like Barnes & Noble, PETsMART, and Circuit City – and no single store has ever dominated the retail food chain like Wal-Mart.

In Category Killers, veteran journalist Robert Spector argues that these retail giants have done more than dramatically alter our buying experience. They’ve also ingeniously rewritten the retail playbook and, in the process, forever altered cultural and economic factors from traffic patterns and land-use legislation to taxation, migration, and employment. Critics contend that “mega-retailers” have destroyed the neighborhood and ruthlessly wiped out competition. Yet these retailers have also undeniably democratized consumption, making just about everything affordable to just about anyone.

Spector traces the rise and influence – the better and worse – of category killers from pioneer Toys “R” Us to Home Depot to Starbucks. He also examines the impact of warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club, and every retailer’s ultimate nemesis, Wal-Mart. Based on decades of research and investigative reporting, Category Killers provides insights into the past, present, and future of retailing, including:

  • · How traditional department stores allowed category killers to co-opt them
  • · Why conventional shopping malls will disappear, and what will replace them
  • · How the comeback of the “dollar store” concept is redefining retail model
  • · Why online shopping will never replace physical stores
  • · How community activism has threatened big retail expansion
  • · Whether independent retailers can survive in the world of category killers
  • · Where growth opportunities lie at home and abroad
  • · Which emerging trends could unseat today’s powerhouses

An incisive analysis of modern retail’s most influential players, Category Killers guides readers down the aisles of retailing history and reveals what’s in store for us as the future unfolds.


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