In organisational terms the most important element in the retail scene is that of the small independent shop. With the exception of two small supermarkets and one furniture store, the rest of the area's 68 shops fall into the small shop category. This area therefore provides a fairly wide variety of retail trade types with which to examine the ownership patterns of small shops. Table 1 Retail structure in east Swansea General Stores/Grocers 31.2% Clothing and Footwear 7.7% Butchers 7.7% Chemists 6.1% Confectioners/Bakers 7.7% Newsagents/Tobacconists 12.2% Household Goods 12.3% Services 9.2% Vacancies 6.1% Ownership and Employment characteristics One of the most accepted characteristics of many small shops is their close association with family business, for frequently the small business is a family business as everyone helps in some way with the running of the shop (White, 1973). Mills (1930) termed these people the 'lumpenbourgeoisie', a group of people for whom economic life corresponds wholly with family life. In East Swansea this feature is strongly confirmed, with over 88% of the small shops surveyed being operated as family concerns. The involvement of family members in retailing takes a variety of forms, ranging from firms that are com- pletely dependent on the family labour force to those that must utilize outside labour supplies (table 2). From the data collected in this survey there appears to be little overall variation in the use of various labour by retail trade type. One exception is that of food retailers, a group that shows the heaviest dependence on family labour.