Location is of paramount importance within the retail sector, yet retail locational obsolescence remains an overlooked area despite significant concerns over the long term viability of parts of the retail sector. This paper explores the idea of retail locational obsolescence in depth and, through this, for the first time determines a definition and sets out a conceptual model. It is argued that, only by undertaking such an analysis, can the problem of disequilibrium in demand and supply be fully understood and, therefore, tackled. The analysis focuses on a number of areas, including the distinction between causes and effects; the multi-spatial nature of the driving forces that range from the global economy, to local markets and sub-markets, right down to individual property-specific factors; and, crucially, the need to disentangle locational obsolescence from other important concepts such as depreciation and functional obsolescence that are often mistakenly used as substitutes. The analysis demonstrates not only the complex nature of retail locational obsolescence but the extensive and disparate nature of the parties with a vested interest in the retail property sector. Through this is becomes clear that any attempts at developing solutions for the difficulties faced by the sector must fully understand the challenge. Numerous reports have been published in the UK, not just the recent high-profile Portas Report commissioned by the Government, but a significant number of others over the past couple of decades. These are explored, using the definition and conceptual model developed above, to shed light on how the various efforts have been focused. Through this, a research agenda is suggested to better understand and focus future work on the health of the retail sector.