Category Killers

The Retail Revolution and its Impact on Customer Culture

“Robert Spector is America’s preeminent retail historian. This book is the most effective dipstick we have on where we have been and where we might go.”

-Paco Underhill, Founder and CEO, Envirosell Inc.

The Astonishing Impact of the “Megaretailer” on Competition, Communities, and Consumers

Retail is a dynamic and often ruthless world that equally influences, and is influenced by, the consumers it exists to serve. New players constantly emerge to better satisfy consumer demands; consumer demands and desires shift with new offerings; and existing firms disappear when they can’t adapt.

In Category Killers, veteran journalist Robert Spector explores the rise of retail’s reigning disruptor: retailers who seek to dominate a distinct classification of merchandise and wipe out the competition. Based on decades of research and investigative reporting, Spector vividly recounts how “category killers” from Toys R Us and Home Depot to Wal-Mart and Costco have ingeniously rewritten the retail playbook and, in the process, profoundly altered cultural and economic factors from migration and traffic patterns to legislation and taxation to wages and jobs.

Spector explores the brilliant strategies that have enabled category killers to overpower department stores, regional chains, and mom-and-pop stores and to reshape the concept of shopping malls. He also identifies emerging trends and inevitable roadblocks that could dethrone today’s powerhouses.

Absorbing and insightful, Category Killers is at once a vivid journey down the aisles of retailing history and an incisive analysis of modern retail’s most influential players.