This article argues that innovations in organisational form are the driving force behind changes in retailing. After describing the decline in the value added component of retail sales that has occurred in Canada since the early 1970s, it then argues that an analysis of this trend should situate retailing within the more encompassing framework of shopping and recognise the response of organisations to externalities arising in shopping activities. Organisational change economises on the costs of co-ordination by reassigning activities and changing the incentives that face interacting agents. The argument is illustrated with examples from shopping centres and franchising.