In 2001, Alex Marshall wrote a book called How Cities Work, in which he predicted the death of small retail stores:
The history of retail is one of prices getting lower in exchange for fewer and fewer steps between producer and consumer. The end result of this may be all of us going to one huge store located in some midpoint of the country, say Kansas City.
It seems to be the case with more and more music and books being picked up online and with the increasing foot print of the few big retailers - the change has been very pronounced in the last 5 years, however, the traditional independent retailer is not hanging up his boots without a fight, in fact they seem to be on the rebound in many of the geos, and reasons for the same are diverse, however centered around pillars of "personalized service" & "proximity".
Here are some additional write-ups on this fight-back;