It’s Tuesday so it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is The Market
The principle of the market is as old as civilization itself. Markets and market places are still to be found everywhere and each country has its own tradition s and customs. In China, every neighbourhood has its own little vegetable and meat market, selling local produce. These Chinese markets are a focus of activity and noise, and modern Chinese supermarkets still reflect the look and feel of these original markets with stores housing ‘mini’ markets and stalls within them. In Moscow, 21% of all retail trade takes place in markets and indeed markets continue to occupy a special place in the hearts and minds of Russian shoppers. About half of all clothes and shoes sold in Russia are brought at markets – the prices are cheaper and sometimes the goods are newer and more plentiful than in retail outlets. Although perishable goods are also offered, grocery retailing has expanded significantly to the extent that now only about 11% of all food is sold at markets. For centuries, across every part of India, weekly Haats or ‘gatherings’ would see vendors gathering in market places. As towns and cities grew, small retail stores began stocking more goods, and high street bazaars were formed where traders sold a range of goods, food, and perishables. In 1869, the Mumbai Crawford Market could be said to be the first form of shopping centre in India, then in 1874, the Hogg Market was built in Calcutta. Now known as the New Market, it was designed by an East Indian Railways Architect, R.R. Banya, and named after the municipal commissioner of Calcutta, Sir Stuart Hogg. The Hogg Market had a garden, a red brick Gothic clock tower and benches for shoppers to rest upon. Just a decade ago the majority of Indian shoppers still relied on street markets. But shopping traditions here are changing too. The street markets are still appreciated for their colourful displays and merchandise, but new shopping malls offering entertainment and experiences for all the family are also attracting many customers through their doors. Retailing is now the largest private industry in India and the second largest employer after agriculture.
Contribution to Retail History
Markets have existed throughout human history. Often centrally located or in an area of optimum footfall – at a port or roadside – wherever buyers and sellers could get together a market could be created. The focus of economic activity for the surrounding area, markets were also and remain today, a focus for social events, customs and traditions.
The History Of Retail In 100 Objects Is Available As A Free Podcast