Day Headlines in Shopping news: 2010-07-01

  • Economics focus: The click and the dead (The Economist Online Shopping 2010-07-01 11:08:29)
    Print sectionIssue: CyberwarFly Title: Economics focusLocation: Main image: 201027fnd000.jpgFOR as long as anyone can recall, chess enthusiasts in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have played on large streetside chessboards in the shadows of the stately buildings of Harvard Yard. But even in a place that seems impervious to the passage of time, there is change. One example is an empty space where a much-loved local institution, an independent bookshop called WordsWorth, stood for 30 years. Like small-business owners in other industries, its proprietors held the internet, of which the student-heavy populace of Cambridge were early adopters, responsible for having to shut up shop in 2004.Everywhere people bemoan the replacement of the local and the quaint by outposts of big, homogeneous chains. But how true is the notion that the internet in particular has hastened the demise of some retailers, and that those it hurt were overwhelmingly small? A new study* on this subject by four economists at the University of Chicago looks at three industries—bookshops, travel agencies and new-car ...