The modern retail store is a complex coded assemblage and data-intensive
environment, its operations and management mediated by a number of interlinked big data systems. This
paper draws on an ethnography of a retail store in Ireland to examine how these systems modulate the functioning of the store and working practices of employees. It was found that retail work involves a continual movement between a governance regime of control reliant on big data systems which seek
to regulate and harnesses formal labour and automation into enterprise planning, and a disciplinary regime that deals with the symbolic, interactive labour that workers perform and act
as a reserve mode of governmentality if control fails. This continual movement is caused by new systems of control being
open to vertical and horizontal fissures. While retail functions as a coded assemblage of control, systems are too brittle to sustain the governmentality desired.