For retailing as for many other sectors of activity the years from the close of the '80s to the middle '90s were marked by some uncertainty, and this uncertainty culminated, in the Spring of 1997, in a watershed. Consumers themselves were changing, as, too, were their locations, shopping demands and behaviour, their spending power, lifestyles and values. Under the Resale Prices Act 1976, the Director General could apply to the Restrictive Practices Court for the discharge of an exempting Order, and the Court would grant it only if there were prima facie evidence of a material change in the relevant circumstances. With the emergence of new retail forms, the decline of the small, and the unremitting trend to concentration, it is notable that the focii of the '80s did not fade. The retail revolution and its shopping legacy were the product of an era which had cherished the free market ethic.