Discount stores, unusually, are defined neither by their size (supercenter, hypermarket) nor by types of goods sold (grocer). Instead, for discount stores to exist, there must be some full-price norm against which to benchmark them. Retail definitions are notoriously imprecise: Eurostat defines a discount store as a retailing establishment selling a range of rapid-turnover, cut-price goods and with virtually no floor service at all. We infer that discounters trade from fixed retail units and employ few—mainly part-time—staff. They thus create work for the type of consumer that they also serve. Discount stores range across both food and nonfood formats and exist in major economies with advanced retail systems. Discounting naturally appeals to (diverse) notions of thrift (see Miller 1998, 61).


The “wheel” model proposes that retailers ...

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