The decade brought great changes in the product distribution system. Wholesaling generally declined in importance, and retailing increased. Chain stores came onto the scene, and department stores consolidated and assumed new importance. Many of these changes resulted from advancements in transportation and the growth of the suburbs. Increasing use of the automobile enabled consumers to shop beyond the confines of the immediate neighborhood, and this development had a negative impact on the corner store. Rising disposable incomes to many workers, increasing home ownership, and ascending levels of education created a wider and deeper consumer market.
Growth of Chain Stores.
The chain-store movement grew rapidly as the 1920s passed. In 1912 only a handful of firms had multiple outlets in more than one state, but by 1927 there were some 1,500 such firms operating nearly 70,000 outlets. The A & P, Kroger, and...
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