The social, economic and environmental impacts of large-scale retail outlets on existing retail and urban systems have been extensively discussed in the planning literature. This article documents the last two decades of transformation in Turkey's retail sector, which have been characterized by a more organized development of the sector than traditionally existed. We begin our analysis with the late 1980s and early 1990s, when more-liberal and outward-looking policies began to emerge in Turkish economic policy. Changes in the economy and related legislation prepared a base for the subsequent transformations of that decade, culminating, especially in large cities, in the development of shopping malls as alternative retail spaces to traditional markets and stores on a shopping street. We believe that the Turkish case reveals specific aspects of resistance, adaptation and change, and thus needs a detailed account. After providing a general picture of retailing and its transformation in Turkey, we provide empirical evidence from Ankara, the capital city, through which all important dynamics of retailing are exemplified. To this end, we ask the following questions: What are the evolving processes behind the existing location patterns of shopping centres in Ankara? What is the extent of the change in definition of the new public realm? How do street retailers survive? Who are the actors and what are their approaches towards retail planning in Turkey? The answers to these questions may provide implications for urban policy and retail planning in Turkey. The case may also be interesting for countries experiencing similar patterns of change and development, that is, where the globalization process in retailing and consumption-related sites began later than in other countries and observed fast-paced development. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.