One of the phenomena of the twentieth century, chainstores, are remarkably little studied by economists. Amongst open questions are the following: What factors influence the pattern of their openings? Does the spread of one constrain others having broadly the same retail offer? Do they locate close to competitors? To answer such questions, one must examine a time path of development- put simply one must observe actual entry. This is precisely what is done in a series of papers (Toivanen and Waterson, 2000; 2001; Sault, Toivanen and Waterson -hereafter STW, 2002; forthcoming) we are working on concerning the spread of restaurant outlets in the UK. This paper sketches the main elements of our program, then examines a particular issue, the micro-geography of location, in detail
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