A pot purl of things that just don’t fit any where else. Enjoy…

Picture of The Week

Opera House Manaus, Brazil

The Opera House Manaus, Brazil. Now Home to the World Cup. Started in 1884 at a time when fortunes were made in the rubber boom here in Manaus in the heart of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil. The first performance was La Gioconda on January 7, 1897. Now it’s joined by another huge, expensive building –  a new football stadium for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – Greek Agora

Greek Agora

It’s Tuesday so it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is The Greek Agora. By about 600 BC all cities in ancient Greece would have had an agora near their cent re.A market place as well as a meeting place, the agora was usually a rectangular space surrounded by buildings and frequented by politicians, traders, aristocrats, scientists and slaves. Along one edge was the ‘stoa’, a long covered walkway with shop s located in it,  where more expensive items could be purchased than those found on the traders’ stalls. Farmers brought their produce to the agora and set up stalls selling meat, fish, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, eggs, honey, and wine. Cattle and grain were also traded, as were more exotic items such as gems, silks, wool, and, of course, slaves. A hive of activity, craftsmen would ply their trade and moneychangers and bankers would carry out their business. ‘Shopping’ at the agora was conducted by men and their household slaves, not by women. The agora was also a focus for cultural and community activity. Political debate, theatre, and musical performances would draw citizens in as they fraternised with friends and business associates. It also served as a labour exchange as employers mixed with men looking for work. Although it was a predominantly male environment, women were allowed to use the agora’s public fountains to collect water.

Contribution to Retail History

A focal point for trading and bartering, the agora is one of many examples of how even in ancient civilisations, communities instinctively drew together to share, compare, buy and sell.

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects Is Available As A Free Podcast

History of Retail Podcast


Picture Of The Week

Yes that is a Bentley on the streets of Shanghai

Shanghai RR

China is now the second largest market for Bentley. USA is still No1 but for how much longer…?


The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – Coin

Coins History Of Retail

It’s Tuesday so it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is the Coin.

In China, from around 1200 BC , the cowrie shell was used as an item of exchange – ‘shell money’. archaeologists’ finds suggest that from 1000 BC the Chinese began to produce mock cowrie shells made of metal. Bartering had two distinct disadvantages – the person wishing to ‘buy’ may not have anything the ‘seller’ wished to acquire, and even if they could agree on a trade, the haggling process was time consuming. Coins offered a solution in that they represented fixed values and could be exchanged not for their intrinsic value, but in order to change hands again in payment for some other goods. An appreciation of the value of metals such as gold and silver had already developed. Since these metals were durable, portable and demand for them remained constant, they were a natural choice for use as a common currency. The value of a coin depended upon its weight and metal content. The idea of using coins quickly spread to Greece, and because the early Greeks were keen traders throughout the Mediterranean, coinage spread around the region. Alexander the Great minted vast quantities of silver coins, using them to pay his armies and keep them loyal. It is believed that this significantly contributed to his ability to expand across three continents.

Contribution to Retail History

Coins increased social mobility and opened up trading opportunities between cities, nations and continents. Signifying a token of trust, with a stored value that was redeemable over time, coins enabled traders and customers to conduct a ‘fair exchange’ of agreed, recognised worth.

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects Is Available As A Free Podcast

History of Retail Podcast

Picture Of The Week

Each week on a Monday I will post my picture of the week from my collection.


Ever get that going nowhere feeling…

David Roth Picture of The Week

History Of The Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year

Now that our 8 Retail Trends are complete for The Year Of The Horse and with a big thank you to Cecilie Ostergren for the pictures in the trends series….Here is a little background on Chinese New Year that I though you might fund useful and interesting. The Chinese new year, known in China as spring festival, is the country’s most important holiday. The Chinese New Year is based on a calendar established about 4,700 years ago. Various legends explain the origin of the Chinese New Year. One describes how people dreaded the New Year because a fearsome beast named Nian annually terrorised the population and devoured children. Then one year a child appeared dressed in red. The beast, frightened by the colour, fled and never returned. That’s why the Chinese New Year traditionally features red lanterns and noisy firecrackers to ward off evil spirits. The Chinese New Year is based on a calendar that calculates time using both lunar and solar events. Time passes in 12-year cycles with each year represented by an animal of the Chinese zodiac. Traditionally, people prepare special foods and hope for a future of good luck. They attend many family dinners, starting with a New Year’s Eve feast. Travel home for the family reunion produces a mass migration. The New Year period culminates in the lantern festival, a joyful celebration around the first new moon in the lunar New Year.

8 Retail Trends In China – No 7. Gamification To Deliver Data


To Deliver Data Insight data is of course one of the most important and also complex keys to the retail castle. There are massive amounts available from ‘likes’ and ‘wants’ to shopping patterns and the Chinese consumer is constantly inputting data to social discussions, chats and review sites. However, for some time the burning question has been how to extract relevant and usable data for a brand. In the Year of the Horse, we foresee gaming will become a major part of the plan. Consumers in China love the novelty of gaming and we know they will provide information if asked. The ability to ‘gamify’ users’ experience with a brand to get the best quality consumer feedback has proved to be one of the most powerful forms of information gathering, and we expect to see this gain real traction and begin to drive brand behaviour. Social media has given us some insight into the users’ experience but none has engaged, connected or interacted with consumers in the way gamification has proved itself able to. There is no doubt that eliciting meaningful data is of the utmost importance in driving growth for brands and that gaming will play a key part in the process for smart brand owners and retailers.

8 Retail Trends In China – No 6. Prime Time For Local Luxury

Local Luxury

Luxury has been a common theme in china’s recent retail history. From the Chinese going abroad to buy, Hong Kong as a luxury goods market and every global luxury and premium brand finding a home in the ‘high streets’ and top class malls of China, luxury is seen as more than a status symbol; it is the evaluation of the elite and the definition of the ladder of success. The hunger for luxury is, indisputably, one of the most defining features of the rising middle class and new Chinese generation. It was only a matter of time before we saw the emergence of home grown luxury brands and we envisage them gaining traction in the Year of the Horse – the ability to mix national pride, artisan skills and high-end luxury is an unbeatable formula in China. In our opinion, this segment will take time to build as the mindset of ‘foreign = better’ is still entrenched but we nonetheless believe it will continue to grow and result in the formation of some very strong, innovative Chinese luxury brands. We expect to see these starting to assert their place in Chinese decadence and also emerging as global players within the luxury market. Having watched the creation of Chinese brands in the toughest of conditions locally, we have no doubt that if they can establish their presence overseas, they will significantly strengthen their position within the minds of local Chinese. This is a long road and the Year of the Horse will be an important staging post in the journey.

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