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Retail markets and shops have a very ancient history, dating back to antiquity.
Over the centuries, retail shops were transformed from little more than "rude booths" to the sophisticated shopping malls of the modern era.
Digital technologies are also changing the way that consumers pay for goods and services.
Recreational shopping often involves window shopping (just looking, not buying) and browsing: it does not always result in a purchase.
Most modern retailers typically make a variety of strategic level decisions including the type of store, the market to be served, the optimal product assortment, customer service, supporting services and the store's overall market positioning.
In the Graeco-Roman world, the market primarily served the local peasantry.
Local producers, who were generally poor, would sell small surpluses from their individual farming activities, purchase minor farm equipment and also buy a few luxuries for their homes.
Surrounding the market, skilled artisans, such as metal-workers and leather workers, occupied permanent premises in alleys that led to the open market-place.