Two metropolitan cities of similar size and less than 400 Kilometres apart, yet London and Paris display vastly contrasting patterns of retailing. Retailing, unlike manufacturing industry, has yet to go truly multi‐national in its organisation; but the trends in this direction are clear. Retail organisations in England and France, however, will have to contend with very different patterns of retailing in the two metropolitan cities should they decide to set up in them. The reasons for these differences are partly historical and partly administrative. Since 1945 the outward growth of London has been limited by an extremely powerful system of land‐use planning. This has had the effect of stopping London at the point that its outward growth had reached prior to the outbreak of World War II. By 1938, aided by the development of suburban electric railways in the two decades since 1918, the suburbs of London had sprawled out 19 to 24 Km from the centre. In that year, an Act of Parliament created the Green Belt, which provided a means of restraining further development. The area within the Green Belt is now the province of the Greater London Council, the strategic planning authority for London set up in 1964. Beyond the Green Belt, in the Outer Metropolitan Area, some 40 to 50 Km from Central London, a series of new towns has been built. While Greater London has lost population and jobs since the war, this area beyond the Green Belt has witnessed a major growth of population and jobs in the same period. (Milton Keynes, for instance, is planned to accommodate 500,000 people and by 1977 a covered shopping centre of 84,000 m2 will be open, rising to 172,000 m2 of shopping space by 1991 with 28,000 car parking spaces).
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