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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.

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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

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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

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1126

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

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Article
Publication date: 19 January 2010

Tracey Deutsch

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize the papers written for this special issue, to suggest some themes and problems emerging from recent retail history, and to bring…

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1062

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to synthesize the papers written for this special issue, to suggest some themes and problems emerging from recent retail history, and to bring together work from a variety of subfields.

Design/methodology/approach

The essay surveys recent themes in retail history, using the contents of the special issue as a point of departure. It relies on secondary sources.

Findings

The articles in this issue highlight the importance of power relations and more formal political economy and government policy to retail firms. They also emphasize the importance of nearby institutions and populations to retailers. Taken as a whole, the pieces speak to recent interest among business historians in the social contexts and contingencies that shape firms and also in the history of failure, draw their attention to the importance of “the local” in business generally, and point to the possibilities of more work on very small firms, early American and non‐US (or globally framed US) retail and questions of women and gender. This work is part of a resurgence of interest by historians of all stripes in retail and its history; although reading across sub‐disciplinary lines can be challenging, the essay concludes by encouraging scholars of retail to do so.

Research limitations/implications

This essay should encourage work in understudied fields and particularly encourage broad reading among retail historians.

Originality/value

The essay introduces readers to literature they may not have encountered and articulates themes and questions emerging from new scholarship on retail.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 2 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 17 August 2015

Matthew Bailey

This paper aims to join a growing movement in marketing history to include the voices of consumers in historical research on retail environments. It aims to show that…

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to join a growing movement in marketing history to include the voices of consumers in historical research on retail environments. It aims to show that consumer perspectives offer new insights to the emergence and reception of large-scale, pre-planned shopping centers in Australia during the 1960s, and allow one to write a history of this retail form from below, in contrast to the top-down approach that is characteristic of the broader literature on shopping mall development.

Design/methodology/approach

Written testimonies by consumers were gathered using a qualitative online questionnaire. The methodology is related to oral history, in that it seeks to capture the subjective experiences of participants, has the capacity to create new archives, to fill or explain gaps in existing repositories and provide a voice to those frequently lost to the historical record.

Findings

The written testimonies gathered for this project provide an important contribution to the understanding of shopping centers in Australia and, particularly Sydney, during the 1960s, the ways that they were envisaged and used and insights into their reception and success.

Research limitations/implications

As with oral history, written testimony has limitations as a methodology due to its reliance on memory, requiring both sophisticated and cautious readings of the data.

Originality/value

The methodology used in this paper is unique in this context and provides new understandings of Australian retail property development. For current marketers, the historically constituted relationship between people and place offers potential for community targeted promotional campaigns.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 7 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 7 February 2018

Robert Crawford and Matthew Bailey

The purpose of this paper is to explore the value of oral history for marketing historians and provide case studies from projects in the Australian context to demonstrate…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to explore the value of oral history for marketing historians and provide case studies from projects in the Australian context to demonstrate its utility. These case studies are framed within a theme of market research and its historical development in two industries: advertising and retail property.

Design/methodology/approach

This study examines oral histories from two marketing history projects. The first, a study of the advertising industry, examines the globalisation of the advertising agency in Australia over the period spanning the 1950s to the 1980s, through 120 interviews. The second, a history of the retail property industry in Australia, included 25 interviews with executives from Australia’s largest retail property firms whose careers spanned from the mid-1960s through to the present day.

Findings

The research demonstrates that oral histories provide a valuable entry port through which histories of marketing, shifts in approaches to market research and changing attitudes within industries can be examined. Interviews provided insights into firm culture and practices; demonstrated the variability of individual approaches within firms and across industries; created a record of the ways that market research has been conducted over time; and revealed the ways that some experienced operators continued to rely on traditional practices despite technological advances in research methods.

Originality/value

Despite their ubiquity, both the advertising and retail property industries in Australia have received limited scholarly attention. Recent scholarship is redressing this gap, but more needs to be understood about the inner workings of firms in an historical context. Oral histories provide an avenue for developing such understandings. The paper also contributes to broader debates about the role of oral history in business and marketing history.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 10 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2013

Robert D. Tamilia

The purpose of this paper is to give tribute to William R. Davidson and his pioneering work with Management Horizons, the retail consultancy he cofounded along with…

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140

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to give tribute to William R. Davidson and his pioneering work with Management Horizons, the retail consultancy he cofounded along with numerous contributions he and the firm made to marketing thought and retail knowledge.

Design/methodology/approach

The essay relies on the corporate history of Management Horizons as well as other publications.

Findings

A more complete picture emerges of Davidson's role in bridging the world of academia with the world of practitioners involved in retailing and wholesaling.

Research limitations/implications

The essay discusses Davidson's contributions to marketing as they relate to Management Horizons. But not all his contributions to marketing and retailing thought are presented.

Practical implications

Real life examples related to marketing thought and retail practices are discussed.

Originality/value

The essay offers a unique review of Davidson's role in the creation of one of the most important retail consultancies of the twentieth century.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 4 November 2013

Ellen McArthur

– The purpose of this paper is to present historical research on marketing practices in department stores of the 1880-1930 period using primary source records from Australia.

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1243

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to present historical research on marketing practices in department stores of the 1880-1930 period using primary source records from Australia.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper draws from primary records including retail trade journals, mass circulation newspapers, and other contemporary sources, but mainly from the archives of The Master Retailers' Association (MRA). The MRA was the dominant industry employers' organisation in Australia, and possibly the first retail association of its kind in the Western world. Secondary sources have also been used to supplement the primary records, and to provide context, and cross-cultural comparisons.

Findings

The findings demonstrate the antecedents of a range of marketing practices that today we presume are modern, including sales promotion, trade promotion, direct mail, destination retailing, advertising, and consumer segmentation. This supports other scholars' research into marketing's long history.

Originality/value

This paper contributes original knowledge to the neglected field of Australian marketing history and connects the pioneering practices of retailers to the broader field of marketing. While some outstanding retail histories exist for the USA, UK, and France, the Australian story has remained largely uncovered.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 5 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 8 October 2018

Chinmay Tumbe and Shashank Krishnakumar

This paper aims to understand the factors affecting the evolution of retailing in India since the mid-nineteenth century.

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426

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to understand the factors affecting the evolution of retailing in India since the mid-nineteenth century.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper compares the trajectories of four distinct retail stores in India – Spencer’s pan-Indian retailing empire since 1863, Akbarallys’ department store chain in Mumbai since 1897, Apna Bazar’s consumer cooperative chain in Mumbai since 1948 and the Future Group’s pan-Indian retailing chain since the 1980s. Historical sources include firm biographies and newspaper archives.

Findings

This paper proposes a systems theory linking environmental influences and service innovation, to explain the evolution of retailing in India since the mid-nineteenth century. The key environmental influence on retailing has been state patronage – colonialism and high-end department stores until the 1940s, socialism and cooperative stores until the 1980s and liberalisation with restricted foreign direct investment in retailing until 2015 associated with indigenous corporate large retail format stores. Service innovation in terms of home delivery and recreation of the bazaar atmosphere due to norms on gender and community have also interacted to shape individual success in modern retailing and the dominance of small shop retailing over the long run.

Research limitations/implications

This paper questions standard accounts of retailing history in India that began with the late-twentieth century by showing the scale of a pan-Indian retailing chain in the early-twentieth century. It also provides an account of retailers that is missing in the current literature on the history of consumption in India.

Practical implications

Findings of this study will be useful to marketing professionals and teachers who wish to learn more about the history of retailing in India. It also shows how retailers navigated changes in the regulatory and business environment.

Originality/value

Through a comparative study, this paper outlines the environmental influences on retail formats and service innovation strategies that are required to serve the Indian market. It also brings to fore the significance of retailing chains in colonial India.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 10 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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Article
Publication date: 27 June 2018

Johan Kask and Frans Prenkert

Retail has evolved over the past century alongside megatrends such as urbanization, consumerism and digitalization. To contribute to existing knowledge on patterns of…

Abstract

Purpose

Retail has evolved over the past century alongside megatrends such as urbanization, consumerism and digitalization. To contribute to existing knowledge on patterns of retail form evolution, the purpose of this paper is to investigate when and how novel retail forms have evolved in the Swedish sporting goods market.

Design/methodology/approach

An evolutionary approach that encompasses population thinking is used to interpret the history of sporting goods retailing in Sweden from the interwar era onwards. Drawing on archival data and interviews, the focus in the historical analysis is on the evolution of retail form variation in terms of size, strategy, product range and retail channel (online/offline).

Findings

The paper suggests that evolutionary mechanisms cumulatively have changed the sports retail population from a rather homogenous set of smaller generalist stores toward a larger variety and specialization in mainly two directions: one trajectory toward small and service-focused niche specialists and the other toward high-volume sales outlets.

Originality/value

The paper provides a detailed empirical account of sports retail history in Sweden and an application of theoretical concepts contributing to an integrated investigation of empirical issues and theoretical positions. It concludes that being able to attain “closures” – finding ways to close off a section of the market and avoid direct competition – has historically been a crucial capability for individual retailers to thrive.

Details

Journal of Management History, vol. 24 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1751-1348

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Article
Publication date: 15 August 2016

Dale Miller and Bill Merrilees

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the historical contributions of complex innovations (both creative and tactical components) in a formative period in a major…

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1076

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to investigate the historical contributions of complex innovations (both creative and tactical components) in a formative period in a major Australian department store, David Jones Ltd.

Design/methodology/approach

The study uses a context-specific lens to examine complex retail innovation. The study adopts a longitudinal design with the focus on a single firm, which met the inclusion criteria. Data collection was predominately from company archival materials and publicly available documents, including newspapers.

Findings

An in-depth analysis of two complex innovations demonstrates the retailer’s successful management of both marketing exploration (innovation) and marketing exploitation of that innovation. Effective marketing requires operational, tactical marketing exploitation to dovetail marketing exploration.

Research limitations/implications

The study is limited to one successful department store. Notwithstanding, there are expectations that the lessons extend to many other retailing organizations.

Practical implications

The practical relevance is clear, with the emphasis on retail innovation (and especially complex innovation) as a basis for both surviving and thriving in an ever-changing marketing environment.

Originality/value

The use of a complex innovation approach is a novel way of examining marketing history. The study concludes that both marketing exploration and marketing exploitation are essential for retail longevity.

Details

Journal of Historical Research in Marketing, vol. 8 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1755-750X

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