|Chain Store - Definitions for the Clothing & Apparel Industry|
Chain stores 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.
In the U.S., chain stores began with the founding of the first (and eventually the largest) chain, the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company (A&P) in 1859. By the early 1920s, the U.S. boasted three national chains: A&P, Woolworth's, and United Cigar Stores. By the 1930s, chain stores had come of age, and stopped increasing their total market share. Court decisions against the chains' price-cutting appeared as early as 1906, and laws against chain stores began in the 1920s, along with legal countermeasures by chain-store groups.
A restaurant chain is a set of related restaurants with the same name in many different locations that are either under shared corporate ownership (e.g., In-N-Out Burgers in the U.S.) or franchising agreements. Typically, the restaurants within a chain are built to a standard format and offer a standard menu. Fast food restaurants are the most common, but more upscale establishments (such as T.G.I. Friday's, Ruby Tuesday, and Olive Garden) also exist. Restaurant chains are often found near shopping malls and tourist areas.