Strategy and the business life cycle.
As a young boy growing up in Sydney, my mother would take me on shopping trips to the city. We would visit at least two of the eight department stores that dominated retail. Housed in monolithic buildings, they had multiple floors of high-ceilinged departments, reached by ornate elevators driven by liveried humans.
Shortly after, retail changed dramatically. Discount houses arrived; developers discovered suburban malls; big department stores either shut down or were taken over by competitors. Today, only two large players remain.
Some facades still stand. Heritage listed, they form quaint streetscapes at eye level. Look skyward and there are high-rise towers climbing out of the skeletons housing multiple stories of apartments or offices. Retail has left the building.