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Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

John Benson and Laura Ugolini

Focusing upon British retailing, the purpose of this paper is to review what is known both about the importance of different supply networks at different points in time, and about…

436

Abstract

Purpose

Focusing upon British retailing, the purpose of this paper is to review what is known both about the importance of different supply networks at different points in time, and about the attitudes of different groups of consumers towards these networks.

Design/methodology/approach

Relying primarily upon secondary sources, the paper discusses the ways in which the literature on retailing beyond the shop has developed during the past 40 years, and particularly during the past ten years or so.

Findings

The paper shows that although it is difficult to delineate the scale and importance of retailing beyond the shop, there is a growing consensus that shops were by no means the sole, or necessarily dominant, source of supply. It shows too that consumers' attitudes towards both commercial and non‐commercial exchanges were complex and sometimes contradictory, with non‐commercial transactions particularly difficult to disentangle and interpret. However, it should not be assumed, it is suggested, that notions of value and ties of reciprocity inevitably fell victim to the growing forces of industrialisation and urbanisation.

Originality/value

The paper adopts a broad chronological perspective and introduces readers to sources, evidence, ideas and concepts that shed light on British retail development and change.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Content available
Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

John Benson and Laura Ugolini

389

Abstract

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Ian Mitchell

The purpose of this paper is to argue that changes in urban retail markets in the first half of the nineteenth century should be viewed as significant innovations in retailing…

474

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to argue that changes in urban retail markets in the first half of the nineteenth century should be viewed as significant innovations in retailing methods.

Design/methodology/approach

Retail innovation is set in the context of urban growth, changing consumer demand and product availability. A brief review of the literature leads into a discussion of innovation in non‐shop retailing and of the need for markets to adapt to a changing context. Evidence from local authority archives, particularly Stockport and Birkenhead in Cheshire, is used to explore this in more detail, including the construction of purpose‐built market halls.

Findings

Markets remained pivotal to the supply of food and some other goods. They offered a familiar yet controlled and safe environment. But market halls represented a significant innovation in terms of their size and of the money and civic pride invested in them. Local context, including ownership of market rights, was important in determining how markets adapt to urban growth.

Research limitations/implications

Business records of market traders tend not to survive from this period; so, findings have to be derived from more indirect sources. The need for further research into local authority archives is indicated.

Originality/value

The first half of the nineteenth century is a relatively neglected period in recent retail history research. The paper draws attention to innovation in this period. It provides local context for innovations like market halls that are well documented at a general level, but less well researched locally.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Andrew Alexander

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate some of the recent progress in the study of the history of retailing, with particular reference to analyses of the British retail market…

1327

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to evaluate some of the recent progress in the study of the history of retailing, with particular reference to analyses of the British retail market during the twentieth century.

Design/methodology/approach

Three themes were addressed, each of which has significant potential to enhance our understanding of the historical development of the retail sector. The paper considered both conceptual and empirical contributions to the discussion on the history of retailing, with particular reference to the business management literature. The approach involved a review of recently published literature.

Findings

Whilst there have been a number of important additions of late to the retail history literature, considerable scope remains for engagement with, and contribution to, the theory building taking place within business management.

Practical implications

The author identifies some of the lacunae within research on the history of retailing.

Originality/value

The paper illustrates some of the ways in which the study of retailing history can be productively linked with debates within contemporary studies of business management.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Nicholas Alexander

The purpose of this paper is to consider the value of history within a contemporary retail management and marketing context.

915

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to consider the value of history within a contemporary retail management and marketing context.

Design/methodology/approach

The progress that has been made in incorporating historical methods and history into the retail management and marketing literature was considered.

Findings

The paper explains how history is able to develop understanding in research areas that are by their nature oriented toward contemporary concerns.

Research limitations/implications

The importance of maintaining an historical perspective and not allowing the present to determine an understanding of the past are emphasised. That is, for research to understand the past on its own terms and for the past to help determine an understanding of the present.

Practical implications

The paper explores practical implications for the study of history in the retail management and marketing context.

Originality/value

The paper addresses the dilemma researchers facing in subject areas where it is much easier to see history as a precursor to current activities, rather than as an opportunity to explore questions in different contexts and within longer time frames.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Jon Stobart

This paper aims to reconsider and reframe the relationship between retail and consumer revolutions, arguing that the two have too often been separated empirically and conceptually.

1272

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to reconsider and reframe the relationship between retail and consumer revolutions, arguing that the two have too often been separated empirically and conceptually.

Design/methodology/approach

Reviewing a broad range of literature, the paper discussed the ways in which the historiography of retailing and consumption might be brought together by a greater focus on and theorisation of shopping.

Findings

The paper highlights equivocation in the literature about the extent to which retailing was transformed during the eighteenth century in response to consumer changes. Whilst some aspects were dramatically transformed, others remained largely unchanged. It draws on a rather smaller body of work to illustrate the ways in which shopping practices were instrumental in connecting shops and consumers, linking the cultural world of consumption to the economic realm of retailing.

Originality/value

The key argument is that, if studies of shopping are to be useful in furthering the understanding of retailing and consumption, then the paper must theorise shopping more fully. In particular, the paper emphasises the insights afforded by notions of performance and identity, and by analyses of consumer motivation; arguing that these offer the opportunity to link shopping to wider debates over politeness, gender roles and even modernity.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Vivienne Richmond

The purpose of this paper is to determine the merchandise offered and bought at late‐nineteenth‐century English jumble sales, to understand the place of jumble sales and used…

318

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to determine the merchandise offered and bought at late‐nineteenth‐century English jumble sales, to understand the place of jumble sales and used goods in the domestic budgets of the poors, and to investigate the reasons for purchasing from jumble sales rather than other second‐hand goods outlets.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analyses Anglican Parish Magazines and social surveys, in late‐Victorian England, focusing on two commodities: clothing and carpets.

Findings

Jumble sales were organised by the middle and upper classes for the poor, into whose multiple provisioning strategies they were rapidly integrated, although admission fees excluded the poorest. The sales supplied both necessary and non‐essential items and were eagerly attended, but there is no evidence that they were preferred to other second‐hand outlets or that the goods on offer were cheaper or better quality. Although a site of class interaction, jumble sales also served to maintain class separation.

Research limitations/implications

The geographical spread of this paper omits the most southern, northern and western counties. Further work is also needed to determine more precisely the quality and cost of jumble‐sale merchandise, the age and gender of the customers, and differences between urban and rural sales.

Originality/value

Through interrogation of an underused source, parish magazines, the paper redresses the scholarly neglect of a significant and enduring sector of the used goods market. The paper is of value to historians of marketing, philanthropy, consumption, dress, and the English working classes.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Shelley Tickell

The purpose of this paper is to explore eighteenth‐century London retailers' attitudes to shoplifting and their strategies for countering customer theft.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore eighteenth‐century London retailers' attitudes to shoplifting and their strategies for countering customer theft.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on an examination of contemporary documentary evidence, in particular a quantitative and qualitative analysis of shopkeeper practice drawn from trial transcripts of shoplifting prosecutions at London's highest criminal court, the Old Bailey.

Findings

The paper reveals that shopkeepers predominantly invested in preventative measures to control customer theft, rather than relying on prosecution. It demonstrates that improved shop fittings and new marketing methods served to reinforce the effectiveness of this strategy. The techniques that retailers employed are shown to directly reflect the nature and location of the risks they experienced, even to the extent of being a contributory factor in the withdrawal of women from the retail sector during this period.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to a sample of London trials and the experiences of retailers who prosecuted.

Originality/value

This is the first study of shoplifting prevention in this period. It analyses retailer practice and illustrates how this interacted with their perception of the prevalence of criminality, demonstrating that their approach to stock protection anticipated that of modern retailers. It complements existing scholarship on eighteenth‐century retailing and marketing.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

Alison Toplis

The purpose of this paper is to examine the acquisition of clothing through informal trading channels by provincial working‐class consumers between 1800 and 1850. It argues that…

247

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the acquisition of clothing through informal trading channels by provincial working‐class consumers between 1800 and 1850. It argues that the informal trade fulfilled various functions for such consumers, both as buyers and sellers: clothing could be sold to raise cash quickly and bought at a cheap price, while the informal trade may also have reinforced local community networks and other social relationships.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper focuses on the counties of Herefordshire and Worcestershire to provide a case study that highlights any differences in informal networks arising out of geographical variations. Documentation for the informal trade has been gathered from records of court cases and newspaper reporting of criminal trials involving stolen clothing.

Findings

The informal trade in clothing involved everyday, ordinary clothing, usually sold for money, but often for goods in kind and/or social credit. The trade operated over all areas of the two counties and seems to have been an important method for acquiring cheap clothing where retail provision was not yet fully developed to cater for all social classes.

Originality/value

The link between all facets of retailing is highlighted, as is the importance of placing informal trading networks within their local retailing environment. Their success relied on participants' knowledge about the goods, on trust in each other and often on expectations of mutuality. The informal trade was an important strategy for working‐class clothing acquisition in both rural and urban areas. The trade in illicit clothing formed a large proportion of the informal trade, and its analysis also sheds light on the informal trade in licit clothing.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 10 August 2010

James Davis

The purpose of this paper is to identify the main practitioners, goods, customers and locations of secondhand marketing activities in late medieval England. It questions how…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to identify the main practitioners, goods, customers and locations of secondhand marketing activities in late medieval England. It questions how important was the economic role played by such markets and what was the interaction with more formal market structures?

Design/methodology/approach

A broad range of evidence was examined, covering the period from 1200 to 1500: regulations, court rolls, wills, manorial accounts, literature, and even archaeology. Such material often provided mere scraps of information about marginal marketing activity and it was important to recognise the severe limitations of the evidence. Nevertheless, a wide survey of the available sources can give us an insight into medieval attitudes towards such trade, as well as reminding us that much marketing activity occurred beyond the reach of the surviving documentation.

Findings

Late medieval England had numerous outlets for secondhand items, from sellers of used clothes and furs who wandered the marketplaces to craftsmen who recycled and mended old materials. Secondhand marketing was an important part of the medieval makeshift economy, serving not only the needs of the lower sectors of society but also those aspiring to a higher status. However, it is unlikely that such trade generated much profit and the traders were often viewed as marginal, suspicious and even fraudulent.

Originality/value

There is a distinct lack of research into the extent of and significance of medieval secondhand marketing, which existed in the shadowy margins of formal markets and is thus poorly represented in the primary sources. A broad‐based approach to the evidence can highlight a variety of important issues, which impact upon the understanding of the medieval English economy.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

Keywords

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