It’s not yet Christmas and yet it’s Boxing Day


Christmas and Boxing Day are fast merging. Just look at the above from London’s Oxford Street. It’s a retail trend that is cutting across all holiday events. Getting in early… the art of the retail pre-emptive strike.

One of my predictions for retail in 2015 is the growing importance of O2O (online to offline) across the world for retail especially in China – now the world’s largest eCommerce market. We will be seeing more use of digital and physical retail assets being interrelated and at holiday times getting ahead and locking in consumer spending.

Todays press ads from John Lewis and Currys- PC World  in the UK (below) are an example of how getting in early and O2O are manifesting themselves. The Boxing Day sales starting virtually on line even before the Christmas turkey has even been defrosted let alone put anywhere near the oven and then moving later into physical spaces. We will be seeing a lot more of this in 2015.



Thank you for reading my blog during the year and for all your comments and feedback, it is much appreciated.

Happy Holidays to you all.


History Of Retail In 100 Objects – Galaries du Bois

Galeries de Bois

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

Shopping in Paris is just as important as eating, walking, and visiting museums, and the pre-20th Century shopping Malls of Paris are still an attraction for tourists to day. The malls have long iron structured glass roofs, and original features such as marble and black and white tiled floors. They house restaurants, shops and boutiques. The passages were built in the style of a ‘souk’ – a covered area in which to shop, browse and meet friends. The Galeries du Bois au Palais-Royal was built in 1786 and housed 120 luxury boutiques; after shopping there you could pop in to the central gardens that housed the Palais Royal. The Galeries du Bois became the prototype for the other passages of Paris that followed. The upper classes loved these malls. They could shop and meet, away from noise, smells, weather and ‘unsightly riff-raff’. Famous writers and other notables visited them. Balzac and Zola wrote about them in their books. By 1850 Paris had 150 passages, but today just 30 remain. Department stores such as Bon Marché, which opened in 1852, began to replace them.

Contribution to Retail History

The Galeries du Bois form another link in the chain of the history of public shopping ‘centres’, which stretches back to the forums of Ancient Rome. The 18th century Parisian ‘galleries’ share many features with today’s modern malls – a covered, pleasant retail environment where shopping is a social pastime, as well as, a commercial activity.

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

History of Retail Podcast

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – The Pocket Balance

Pocket Balance

It’s Wednesday so this week  it’s The History Of Retail In 100 Objects post – This weeks object is The Pocket Balance

A pocket balance – also known as a spring scale – is simply a spring fixed at on e end with a hook to which an object can be attached at the other. The object to be weighed is hung from the hook and the force that this weight exerts on the spring is proportion al to the distance that spring is extended – an established scientific principle known as Hooke’s Law. The scale markings on the spring balance identify the weight accordingly. The pocket balance was first created in 1770 by Richard Salter in the UK. From the late 18th century onwards these little scales were widely used in markets, grocers and farm shops – wherever people needed to be able to verify the weight of goods to be purchased in order to calculate the correct pricing. Portable, quick and simple to use, the pocket balance was ideal for weighing goods where pinpoint accuracy was not required, for example, sacks of potatoes or meat carcasses. The underlying principles of the spring balance were later incorporated into the spring scale weighing system widely used by retailers. In this case, the items are placed on a tray underneath the spring mechanism and the pressure exerted (expressed as weight) is shown by the position of pointer on the numbered dial.

Contribution to Retail History

The portable spring scale was the first major development in weighing scales that didn’t rely on the use of counterweights. Their portability enabled goods to be weighed anywhere, not only in shops or other fixed locations. Spring scales are still in use today because they are cheap to make and easy to use, although in the retail environment, more accurate digital scales have replaced them.

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

History of Retail Podcast


Todays Indian brand story is Lakme.

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – The Department Store

Department Store_RT

The History Of Retail In 100 Objects – The Department Store

The earliest department stores appealed to affluent shoppers or those who aspired to own high-quality merchandise and began to surface on multiple continents in the early to mid-1800s. The department store concept remains highly relevant to shoppers, but modern operators are less discriminating and offer formats and product assortment s that appeal to a broad range of income levels. As with many retail innovations, the origins of the department store are difficult to isolate to a particular individual or retailer and the earliest versions of department stores bore little resemblance to their modern counterparts. However, what is clear is that the concept of a retail store offering multiple classifications of merchandise gained momentum in the early to mid-1800s. Charles Henry Harrod established his first retail business in London 1824. Austin’s was established as a department store in Northern Ireland in 1830 and David Jones opened a department store in Australia in 1838. Emerson Muschamp Bainbridge and William Alder Dunn opened a department store in England in 1849 and in 1851, the Buckley &Nunn department store opened in Melbourne, Australia. In 1852, Aristide Boucicaut opened the Le Bon Marché in Paris and six years later in 1958 the first R.H. Macy & Co. store opened in New York. These retailers brought a different perspective to the concept of department store, but each sought to benefit from the escalating standard of living that had resulted from the Industrial Revolution. As disposable incomes for Europeans and Americans increased, department store operators were there to provide a new type of shopping experience and to satisfy shoppers’ desire for consumer goods. The golden age of the traditional department store and its role in society began to fade in the 1960s with the advent of suburban shopping malls and discount department stores. The latter introduced a new type of value proposition to price sensitive mass market shoppers who were willing to accept reduced service levels and a more austere store experience in exchange for lower prices. The concept of the department store remains as relevant as ever, however retailers have to continue to refine product assortments and pursue ever narrower segments of the marketplace based on shopper demographics.

Contribution to Retail History

The introduction of department stores in England, France and the United States in the early to mid-1800s marked the beginning of an important chapter in the history of retailing. Department stores became iconic symbols of prosperity and were the dominant form of retailing for more than a century. The concept of the department store remains as highly relevant today as when it emerged to satisfy new found affluence spawned by the Industrial Revolution. Department stores gave rise to discount stores and also influenced the development of enclosed malls as retail developers took note of the powerful appeal that resulted from combining multiple departments of merchandise in a single destination.

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

History of Retail Podcast

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