Retail firms provide consumers with goods and services for consumption. They are an economic institution delivering explicit product or services at an observable market price, playing in an oligopolistic market.
Location choice is one of the most important decisions in retail. However, location is not meant to be only a spot on a map. The city can’t be viewed as if it were located on a featureless plan, on which all land is of equal quality. It is the relative position that a retailer can occupy given the proximity to other stores, on one hand, and to potential consumers, on the other hand. It is a juxtaposition of social, economic and even morphological aspects of urban life, such as centrality and accessibility, layout and design, visibility and popularity, cluster attraction and spill-over. Hence, commercial city patterns are the result of a long process in which retailers deal with urban network, given that space is a scarce resource to be allocated with competitors. One possible outcome of a such important choice, that has never been a consequence of chance, is that activities agglomerate in areas that are considered as accessible and attractive by the consumers.
Our research has the objective to investigate the existent relationship between retail location, urban morphology and socio-economic performance in order to provide a critical interpretation of the commercial city patterns.