are retail outlets
that share a brand
and central management, and usually have standardized business methods and practices. These characteristics also apply to chain restaurants and some service-oriented chain businesses.
The displacement of independent businesses by chains has generated controversy in many countries, and has sparked increased collaboration among independent businesses and communities to prevent chain proliferation. Such efforts occur within national trade groups such as the American Booksellers Association, as well as community-based coalitions such asIndependent Business Alliances. National entities such as the American Independent Business Alliance and The New Rules Project promote these efforts in the U.S. In Britain, the New Economics Foundation promotes community-based economics and independent ownership.
In 2004, the world's largest retail chain, Wal-Mart, became the world's largest corporation based on gross sales.