PRO vs. CON: Has the Proliferation of Large Chain Stores Been Beneficial to Consumers and the Communities in Which They Are Built?

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Moe Cain of the International Mass Retail Association believes that large chain stores are beneficial to consumers and the communities in which they are built. He believes that the question of being beneficial or not is a "no-brainer." Cain states that mass retailers deserve much of the credit for bringing U.S. consumers an unparalleled range of quality merchandise at competitive prices.

Large chain stores deliver what shoppers want: great bargains on popular items and a convenient shipping experience. And where specifically do Americans get these products? From full-line and specialty discount stores, the superstores combining food and general merchandise, home centers, warehouse clubs and other innovative formats of mass retailing.

Mass retailers only go back a few decades and they have reached the top by winning consumer preference over slower, more expensive, less efficient competitors. By being close to consumers, mass retailers can tailor their operations to the communities they serve.

Cain writes that mass retailers bring more vigorous price competition, smarter ways of doing business and expanding shopping choices. He also believes that there will always be a place for the hard-working moms-and-pops who are smart enough to compete by offering different products or services than their bigger competitors.

Mass retailers employ millions of Americans, ranging from entry-level positions where many young people gain their first work experience to career paths offering good pay and opportunities. Cain also says as U.S. mass retailers expand overseas, they create new markets for American products.

Moe Cain closes his decision by realizing that retailing is a challenging business and no one's success if assured. But retailers, suppliers, consumers and communities can work together to understand and meet each other's legitimate needs.


Betsy Taylor, of the Center For a New American Dream, argues that large chain stores are not...