Version classiqueVersion mobile

Americanisation in 20th Century Europe: business, culture, politics. Volume 2

 | 
Nick Tiratsoo
, 
Mathias Kipping

Did Bradford have anything to learn from Chicago?

American influences on mail order retailing in Britain

Richard Coopey et Dilwyn Porter

Résumé

L’historique de la vente par correspondance en Grande-Bretagne suggère quelques parallèles avec les États-Unis et quelque trace d’un influence américaine. Etant donné son soudain et large développement aux États-Unis, il était inévitable que les entreprises britanniques regardent vers leurs concurrents américains quand ils cherchaient à se moderniser. Une judicieuse adaption de la méthode américaine a eu lieu, surtout en relation avec le traitement de l’information et la gestion scientifique. Il y avait, cependant, d’importantes différences entre les respectifs marchés de la vente dans les deux pays et le type de marchandise qu’ils développaient. Cela imposait des limites efficaces sur les marchandises brittaniques qui pouvaient être américanisées.

Texte intégral

1This chapter will examine the influence of American methods on general mail order retailing in Britain since the late Nineteenth Century. It will compare and contrast the development of this sector in the American and British economies, highlighting the different trajectories followed in terms of scale and operating structure. Though pointing to various connections between British and American retailers, as well as indicating some instances where selective adaptation occurred, the independent development of British mail order retailing will be stressed. The impact of the respective national markets in shaping the distinctive retail forms that emerged on either side of the Atlantic will be discussed and attention given to the social and cultural environments in which those markets were embedded. American mail order retailers, especially Montgomery Ward and Sears, Roebuck & Company, operated in conditions quite different from their British counterparts in Bradford and elsewhere. The retailing form they developed to meet the requirements of American consumers could not be transplanted Wholesale in Britain. This meant that the potential for the Americanisation of British mail order retailing was reined in from the start.

structures and markets

  • 1 T. Schlereth, “Country Stores, county fairs and mail-order catalogues: consumption in rural America (...)
  • 2 D. Blanke, Sowing the American Dream: how Consumer Culture took root in the Rural Midwest, Athens, (...)
  • 3 P. Beaver, A Pedlar’s Legacy: the Origins and History of Empire Stores 1831-1981, London, Henry Mel (...)
  • 4 R. Coopey, S. O’Connell and D. Porter, “Mail Order in the United Kingdom c. 1880-1960: how mail ord (...)

2In focusing on the firms that came to dominate in this sector it is important to acknowledge an imbalance in the existing literature, not least because this appears to have impacted on the way in which British mail order retailing is sometimes described. Though there has been no general account of the development of American mail order, the Chicago-based giants have generated significant company histories, notably Latham (1972) on Montgomery Ward, Emmet and Jeuck (1950) and Weil (1977) on Sears Roebuck. More recently, the American mail order phenomenon has attracted the attention of cultural and social historians, especially Schlereth (1989) and Blanke (2000). For Schlereth, the mail order catalogue, “the homesteader’s bible”, was essentially an agent of modernisation. It came to represent “a department store between book covers, a banking and credit source, an etiquette adviser, and a down-home vade mecum of modernity”.1 Blanke explains the success of Montgomery Ward after 1873 and Sears Roebuck at the turn of the century largely in terms of self-conscious adaptation to the consumer ideology then prevailing in the rural Midwest.2 In comparison the body of published work on British mail order has been relatively slight. Beaver (1981) has supplied the only company history to date and his definition of mail order conflated its American and British forms. Brandon (1984) set British developments in the context of “Sears Roebuck-the American model”.3 Research emphasising the distinctive characteristics of the Britain’s leading mail order retailers, in particular their commitment to consumer credit and their reliance on spare-time agency, has emerged only in the last few years.4

  • 5 A. Chandler Jr., A., Scale and Scope: the Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, Cambridge MA, Harvard (...)

3Chicago’s mail order houses also featured prominently in the work of Chandler who located them at the heart of what he described as a “revolution in distribution” in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries. What was emphasised here was the way in which mail order retailers exploited an improved communications infrastructure to reach customers denied access to more conventional ways of shopping. In addition, advantages accruing from economies of scale and scope were underpinned by a high degree of mechanisation as retailers developed the capacity to handle the massive volume of orders received daily while maintaining a steady velocity of flow through the warehouse. A highly supervised departmental scheduling System, introduced by Otto Dearing in the early years of the Twentieth Century, enabled Sears Roebuck’s main Chicago warehouse to handle over 100,000 orders daily, “as many transactions as most traditional merchants in pre-railroad days handled in a lifetime”. It was developments of this kind that allowed American mail order houses to sustain a high stock turn, thus enabling them to operate on lower margins than their competitors.5

  • 6 Ibid., p. 255-61.
  • 7 The History of 125 Years, Worcester, Kay & Company, 1919, p.2.

4The pioneers of mass distribution in the United States, as Chandler was aware, had their counterparts in Britain and in Scale and Scope he developed a comparison between the operations of Sears Roebuck and the Manchester-based Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS).6 Though there were a number of general mail order retailers operating in Britain by the early years of the Twentieth Century-Empire Stores in Bradford, Freemans and John Myers in London, Graves in Sheffield, Kays in Worcester and the Royal Welsh Warehouse at Newtown – none were of sufficient size to invite useful comparison with Sears. It is clear from company literature published in 1919, for example, that Kays, probably the largest British house at that time, was a relatively small business by Chicago standards. Kays boasted that it often despatched as many as 1,200 parcels in a day, a throughput comprising about one per cent of that handled by Sears Roebuck. Significantly, W. Kilbourne Kay, while describing his firm as “the largest industrial agency business in the kingdom”, went to some lengths to assure customers that it was his intention that it should remain a “good little business”.7 As Kay himself was aware, there were always lessons that could be learned from the United States but differences of scale helped to ensure that these were applied piecemeal fashion in the British context.

  • 8 Chandler 1990: 256.

5Nevertheless, in describing the differences between Sears Roebuck and the CWS, Chandler supplied a useful starting point for a more direct comparison between American and British general mail order retailers. “Differences between the mass markets in the two countries”, he argued, “led to noteworthy differences in the institutions created to serve them”.8 Whereas the Chicago houses catered, at least initially, mainly for customers in rural areas with limited access to conventional retail outlets on account of distance, British mass distributors looked to meet the needs of an urbanised industrial working class. This was the function performed by Britain’s major mail order retailers from the late Nineteenth Century onwards, especially after the original pioneers had been joined by the Bradford-based Grattan Warehouses, Great Universal Stores (GUS) and Littlewoods in the inter-war period. In these circumstances, the idea that Sears Roebuck or any other American mail order company might supply a model to explain the development of their British counterparts seems simplistic. General mail order retailing developed over roughly the same period in the United States and Britain but on quite separate lines. Supplying customers in rural Illinois and Iowa required different retailing techniques from those that were utilised by British mail order retailers selling to working-class customers in towns and cities already offering a variety of easily accessed shopping opportunities.

british mail order and the american connection

  • 9 A. Chandler Jr., Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterpr (...)

6Before emphasising the contrasts, it may be useful to consider those features of British mail order retailing that most closely resembled the corresponding sector in the United States. It was here that selective adaptation of American retailing techniques was most evident. In both countries, differences in the scale of operations notwithstanding, mail order businesses were concerned to ensure that the inflow of orders from customers was rapidly translated into an outflow of goods from the despatch department of the warehouse. What made this apparently straightforward operation difficult was that the stock of goods in the warehouse had to be disaggregated to meet the particular requirements of each order. This had to be achieved at a speed that would guarantee delivery at an early date if mail order retailers were to compete effectively with conventional shopping outlets. These functions, even in relatively small-scale British operations, required the departmentalisation of office and warehouse tasks, clear lines of communication between departments, and the introduction of intensive supervision to ensure the satisfactory execution of orders. The scheduling System introduced at Sears Roebuck in 1906-07, with fines imposed on departments that failed to send required items to the assembling rooms within fifteen minutes of receiving an order, exemplified this aspect of the business. Though the regime at British mail order companies was more relaxed, they responded to the essential pressures of the business in a similar fashion. As early as 1880, the management of the Royal Welsh Warehouse, irritated by “daily increasing complaints of errors in the execution of orders”, had assigned final responsibility for ensuring that goods were properly selected to the heads of its various departments, docking their wages if any mistake should occur.9

  • 10 Worcester Daily Times, 14 September 1908.

7Information processing, storage and retrieval were other areas where the requirements of American and British mail order retailers coincided. As Kays recognised, the idiosyncratic methods employed in Britain were somewhat primitive compared to those developed in the United States. “A big American store”, a company press release observed in 1908, “would no more think of keeping their accounts or having their offices in the antiquated manner in which English offices are generally fitted than a Hindu would think of learning to skate”. In order to service the requirements of its 500,000 customers, Kays had abandoned the 300 bulky ledgers that had constituted its working archive in favour of “the American card System of accounts”. This was especially suitable for firms with large numbers of individual customers; “it simplifies the work, prevents mistakes, saves endless trouble, and facilitates the general despatch of business”.10

8Though Kays also boasted that it had imported the latest American machinery for its boot and shoe works, there is no evidence to suggest that transatlantic connections were pursued systematically at this time or that British mail order operations were self-consciously modelled on Chicago lines. If there was a tendency towards rationalisation it was essentially home grown and organic in character. A sense of this is conveyed by Beaver’s description of Empire Stores in Bradford at the end of the 1920s:

  • 11 Beaver 1981: 65.

The mechanics and administration of the business seem remarkably simple... Every order that came to Canal Road was scrutinised by a director and, if approved, marked ‘SEND’. A girl then took a basket from department to department and assembled the order; stock control and ledger entries were made by pen and ink, the invoices were typed and the order dispatched.11

  • 12 “Grattan Story” typescript, f.49, 75, 89, Grattan plc, Bradford.

9At nearby Grattan Warehouses an American marking machine for printing adhesive labels, bought in the early 1930s, was a source of some wonder being “the very first mechanical aid the warehouse possessed”. A few years later, despite having moved into new, purpose-built premises with the firm’s “first ever conveyor belt for transferring ready for transit parcels direct to the despatch room”, a pragmatic, trial-and-error mentality survived. A teleprinter link to Grattan’s London office was quickly abandoned because it was too noisy; “we reverted to the old System of sending orders on the late night train to reach the Bradford office early next day”.12

  • 13 B. Clegg, The Man Who Made Littlewoods: the Story of John Moores, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 199 (...)

10As British mail order retailing expanded during the 1930s the corporate landscape was transformed by the arrival of John Moores’s Littlewoods Mail Order Stores in 1932 and Isaac Wolfson’s GUS, which acquired Kays in 1937. Both Moores and Wolfson believed that there was much to be learned by studying the methods of American mass distribution. Moores made the first of many visits to the States in 1933, taking in Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck, and showing a particular interest in their warehouses, “where youths on roller skates whizzed along the shelves, picking out items from bins that bore grade labels like some vast library index”. He returned “with samples of their mail-order indexes, tickets, Systems, charts – everything”. Later Jim Wilson, who worked for Littlewoods in stock control and accounts, spent five or six weeks with Sears Roebuck in Chicago. He found them very open: “Well, come in – there’s the filing cabinet. There’s all the stuff. What do you want to know?”. Wolfson, who made the journey in 1936, also wanted “to keep in touch with some of the leading mail order and retail concerns in the United States” and was similarly preoccupied with “achieving a scientific routine both in correspondence and dispatch”.13 It might be argued that these visits indicated an inclination to move away from the paternalistic style of management associated with the family firms that had dominated the sector in Britain since the late Nineteenth Century.

  • 14 M. Kipping, “Consultancies, Institutions and the Diffusion of Taylorism in Britain, Germany and Fra (...)

11At this juncture, the American influence was most visible in efforts to rationalise the labour process. The Bedaux System, originating in the United States as a variation on the linked themes of work study and scientific management, was especially significant and there is evidence to suggest that it was in use at Grattan as early as 1932. Now recognised as probably the most important channel for the spread of Taylorism in Europe, Bedaux provided mail order retailers with a way of measuring the output of their workers and rewarding them for efficient performance via scientifically designed bonus incentive schemes. Labour costs were reduced but enhanced control was the key advantage stressed by Bedaux’s industrial engineers. “Through the introduction of Bedaux methods”, Empire Stores were informed in 1934, “it can truly be said that the management is provided with a measure of control not hitherto visualised or considered possible in the various departments of an organisation”. Empire installed the Bedaux System in 1934, emulating its Bradford-based rival. By 1940, its chairman, Joseph Fattorini, could State with some confidence that “nearly all the waste rime is due to management and not slow working by the staff”.14

12Thus, by the end of the 1930s, some British firms had taken up American methods and techniques, often as a consequence of personal initiative on the part of particular mail order entrepreneurs or their executives. This pattern, if it may be so called, continued into the immediate post-war era. When hostilities ceased Littlewoods picked up vvhere it had left off, sending Andy Cooke on an extensive tour of the United States in 1946. By this time, the original Littlewoods mail order enterprise had diversified into high Street retailing while integrating backwards into manufacturing and Cooke’s remit reflected these changes. His mission was “to search out new ideas for our factories—for new merchandise we might sell and produce, new production methods and also fresh ideas for décor, shop fronts, presentation and display for our chain stores”. Like many pre-war British visitors, Cooke was especially impressed by the systematic application of industrial engineering to even the smallest tasks. A furniture factory in Louisville was especially impressive in this respect and Cooke appears to have become thoroughly Americanised in both a practical and an ideological sense:

There seemed to be more time study engineers than operators, which is of course the proper approach to modem mass production; for planners and timers should set up the perfect job, involving the minimum of manual work. They were determined to increase the size of the cake, with little or probably no increase in the total labour charge; that way all could have a bigger worthwhile slice. If only we here could understand the lesson of the bigger cake and the bigger slice!

  • 15 S. Cooke, It Wasn't All Work, London, Regency Press, 1983, p.89, 106-08.

13A visit to a New York factory producing corsets and lingerie-“nothing was hidden, not even the nude model”– reinforced these impressions. “There was”, he noted, “the same application of the science of reducing the labour or time content to the minimum, creating more work and more wealth, and better shares for all”.15

  • 16 N. Tiratsoo and J. Tomlinson, “Exporting the ‘Gospel of Efficiency’: United States Technical Assist (...)
  • 17 Anglo-American Council on Productivity, Productivity Report on Retailing, Anglo-American Council on (...)

14Cooke’s enthusiasm for all things American, however, has to be seen in the context of the relatively slow take-up of new ideas by British retailers in the immediate post-war era. Despite the efforts of organisations like the Anglo-American Council on Productivity (AACP), established in 1948 to disseminate the American gospel of productivity in Britain, systematic modernisation on transatlantic lines remained an elusive prospect.16 This applied even in mail order where so many leading figures had already demonstrated an inclination to learn from the United States. In this respect the team of retailers assembled for an AACP study tour in 1952 was notable in that Britain’s major mail order houses were not represented, even though a visit to Sears Roebuck had been scheduled. If this was surprising, a perusal of its end-of-tour report suggests that the mission discovered little that was not already known at Grattan, GUS or Littlewoods. The major recommendation arising from the party’s visit to Sears Roebuck related to the importance of “long-term adaptability”. This was exemplified by the decision, taken by Sears in 1925, to diversify into large edge-of-town stores as the near universality of car ownership eroded the competitive position of mail order retailing.17 There was, no doubt, something here for GUS and Littlewoods to think about but it was not instantly applicable in the context of Britain in the early 1950s where agency mail order was about to experience its golden age.

distinctive characteristics of british mail order

  • 18 AACP

15The limitations of these Anglo-American productivity initiatives have been well documented. Technical assistance programmes made little impact. There were also failures of communication-the gospel of productivity was not preached very effectively-but, importantly, the message met cultural resistance in Britain from employers and managers who resented the implications of schemes that were premised on the idea of American superiority. It seems unlikely, however, given their keen interest in the United States during the 1930s, that Britain’s leading mail order retailers were culturally predisposed to resist either American influences or a more systematic Americanisation of their businesses. Perhaps it was thought that privately arranged visits, like those undertaken on behalf of Littlewoods by Wilson and Cooke, were more useful. What seems likely is that they were comfortable with the process of selective adaptation that had helped to modernise the sector in the 1930s and sensed that there were limits to the useful application of American methods and techniques. The AACP mission’s final recommendation had been that “wherever possible work-study should be undertaken in retail shops and stores and not be considered as being the prerogative of industry”.18 This would hardly have been regarded as a new idea in Bradford where Grattan and Empire had been using the Bedaux System since the 1930s, or at Littlewoods in Liverpool. Moreover, Britain’s major mail order houses would have been conscious of areas of activity beyond the office and the warehouse where the distinctive retail form they had been developing since the late Nineteenth Century served them well and offered limited scope for Americanisation.

  • 19 Coopey, O’connell and Porter 1999: 269-70.
  • 20 Chandler 1990: 260; Blanke 2000: 184, 202.

16Though British mail order retailing accounted for less than one per cent of total non-food retail sales in 1950 its share had grown to 8.1 per cent by 1975. For much of this period, it was Britain’s fastest growing retail sector, expanding at around 15 per cent annually in the 1950s. The post-war success of Britain’s ‘Big Five’ mail order houses-GUS, Littlewoods, Freemans, Grattan and Empire-owed much to strategies first developed in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century that dovetailed neatly with the requirements of their largely working-class customers. In order to encourage sales it had always been important to find ways of boosting the purchasing power of individual working-class consumers, at first through the club System but later through taking on a significant role in instalment credit provision. By bundling the cost into the price of goods displayed in the catalogue, mail order companies were able to offer an attractive ‘free’ credit facility to customers buying goods on instalment over 20 or 38 weeks. In the 1950s and 1960s, at a time when the aspirations of working-class consumers were rising but access to credit facilities was limited, especially for women, this gave British mail order a competitive edge over other retailers in the non-food sector. In 1976, 83.5 per cent by value of all instalment credit sales in the UK were attributable to general mail order houses.19 Their significant role as credit providers underpinned a marketing strategy that was quite different from that employed by Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck in the United States where there was less emphasis on credit and more on competitive pricing, differentiated service and cash on delivery. Montgomery Ward had originally promoted itself as ‘the Cheapest Cash House in America’.20

17The other defining feature of British mail order was that it relied extensively on spare-time agents, rewarded on a commission basis, who effectively gave the firms access to pre-existing social networks such as those to be found in family, neighbourhood and workplace. As one account from the late 1970s observed:

In the UK, in contrast to the USA, the mail order business depends heavily upon the agency System. All the general mail order houses distribute goods via agents, private individuals, usually women. These agents are normally customers themselves, but in addition they perform what are in effect retailing functions: they exhibit the goods (i.e. the catalogue), they receive the goods from the mail order company and distribute them to other customers, and they collect payments on behalf of the company.

  • 21 F. Livesey, The Distributive Trades, London, Heinemann, 1979, p. 106-07; E. McFadyen, The Future fo (...)

18Sales via agency accounted for about 90 per cent of all UK mail order sales at this time when there were, according to one conservative estimate around 4.2 million spare-time mail order agents. It was calculated that they were in touch with 72 per cent of all households in the United Kingdom.21 Thus Britain, where agency mail order predominated until the last decade of the Twentieth Century, was quite different to the United States, where Montgomery Ward and Sears Roebuck approached individual consumers directly, Ward having abandoned its late Nineteenth Century strategy of selling mainly to purchasing collectives in the rural Midwest.

  • 22 J. Mann, “The pattern of mail order”, British journal of Marketing, 1, 1967, p.44, p.48.

19Agency mail order was entirely suited to British conditions where firms were selling to customers who already had easy access to retail outlets like the high Street shop or the local co-operative stores. In these circumstances, retailers had to work hard to persuade customers to buy from a catalogue and the combination of credit and agency was important here. Weekly instalments facilitated credit purchases with the agent providing a de facto character reference for the customers on her books, thus minimising the risk of bad debt. The agent’s presence in the neighbourhood or workplace ensured that customers who missed a payment faced the prospect of an embarrassing confrontation with someone they knew rather than a reminder by post from some distant accounts department. Thus, for the British mail order retailer, agency helped to eliminate potentially damaging information asymmetries, enabling them to advance the credit on which increased sales depended. It is also clear that the idea of dealing with someone known and trusted was very important in persuading some people to purchase goods from a catalogue rather than from a shop or a market stall. Research in the 1960s indicated that British mail order customers tended to identify department store sales assistants, for example, with the retailer. A family member, a neighbour or a workmate, on the other hand, was their agent and the catalogue was referred to, not by its company or brand name, but as belonging to “my mother”, “Joan from down the Street” or “Mrs Brown”.22 Until quite recently, the fact that the agent was a relative or personal friend has been the most important single reason for a customer choosing to buy from a mail order catalogue.

  • 23 N. Biggart, Charismatic Capitalism: Direct Seliing Organizations in America, Chicago, University of (...)
  • 24 P. Kemp, “The Department Store on 6,000,000 Doorsteps”, Focus, July 1966, p. 9-13; A. Clarke, Tuppe (...)

20There are some interesting parallels with the United States here, not with the major mail order companies themselves, but with firms that used agents to sell cosmetics and other goods to customers in their own homes. From the 1930s, American direct selling organisations were exploiting pre-existing social networks, appropriating an agent’s personal connections to facilitate the process of selling. As Biggart has suggested, “they came to understand the economic utility of manipulating Americans’ social relations and aspirations at a historically propitious moment”.23 The same claim could have been made for Fattorini and Sons (Empire Stores) of Bradford or Kays of Worcester as their appointed club organisers, prototypical mail order agents of later years, tapped into the disposable income of working-class consumers at the end of the Nineteenth Century. Similarly, it might be argued that the rapid expansion of British mail order sales to newly affluent working-class customers in the 1950s and 1960s was achieved by recruiting an army of spare-time agents who were usually on such familiar terms with their customers that selling became almost a social activity. “I’ve never gone looking for customers”, explained a Littlewoods agent, Mrs Giles of London, in the 1960s. “They are all my friends and relations who happen to see the catalogue when they pop in for coffee or tea”. By the rime that Brownie Wise was introducing the Tupperware Party to American housewives in the early 1950s, Britain’s mail order agents, the nation’s parlour capitalists, were already well versed in the techniques of social selling.24 Agency mail order enabled British retailers to meet the particular requirements of their national market; it has remained relatively immune to American influences.

in conclusion

  • 25 B. Collins, “American Enterprise and the British Comparison”, in B. Collins and K. Robbins (eds.), (...)
  • 26 Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC), The Littlewoods Organisation PLC and Freemans PLC: A Repor (...)

21Mail order retailing developed different forms in the United States and Britain and this inhibited the potential for Americanisation. Britain’s mail order houses, especially where they were part of a larger group of companies, like GUS or Littlewoods, were by no means indifferent to applying American ideas of scientific management. In terms of customer relations, however, British companies, until late in the Twentieth Century, based their marketing strategy almost entirely on spare-time agency, a homespun UK variant on the kind of charismatic capitalism associated in the United States mainly with direct selling organisations like Mary Kay cosmetics and Home Interiors. The large numbers of distributors employed on such schemes in the United States has prompted observations on their importance in creating ‘the culture of participating capitalism’.25 In Britain, though traditional mail order agency has been in decline since the 1980s, numbers remain substantial; in 1996 an estimated 2.5 million agencies of this kind served six million customers.26 Arguably, spare-time mail order agents were and are a significant feature of Britain’s social landscape, just as important in their own cultural context as American direct sales distributors in theirs.

  • 27 Ibid.

22Having followed separate paths until the late Twentieth Century, with direct mail order predominating in the United States and the agency System in Britain, it does seem that the practice of retailers on both sides of the Atlantic is converging. This is largely because the emphasis in Britain has shifted from agency to direct mail order since the 1980s, with an estimated five million personal shoppers now outnumbering traditional agents by two to one.27 As de-industrialisation has eroded the working-class social networks to which agency adhered and as consumer credit has became more readily available, the marketing strategy of British mail order houses has been directed increasingly at the personal shopper. The increasing availability of databases that provided access to the credit records of customers further eroded the dependence on traditional agency. This movement towards direct sales brought Britain increasingly in line with the United States but it is difficult to argue that it exemplifies Americanisation. Rather it embodies a global trend driven by a combination of factors, not least recent developments in the information processing technologies that underpin sophisticated credit referencing Systems. Here British mail order firms have kept pace with and occasionally led global trends.

Bibliographie

***

Anglo-American Council on Productivity 1952. Productivity Report on Retailing, London, Anglo-American Council on Productivity.

Beaver P. 1981. A Pedlar’s Legacy: the Origins and History of Empire Stores 1831-1981, London, Henry Melland.

Biggart N.W. 1989. Charismatic Capitalism: Direct Selling Organizations in America, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Blanke D. 2000. Sowing the American Dream: how Consumer Culture took root in the Rural Midwest, Athens, Ohio University Press.

Brandon R. 1984. “The Origin and Development of Mail Order in the United Kingdom”, Journal of Advertising History, 8, p. 6-11.

Chandler Jr. A.D. 1962. Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise, Cambridge MA, MIT Press.

Chandi.ir Jr. A.D. 1990. Scale and Scope: the Dynamics of Industrial Capitalisai, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press.

Clarke A. J. 1999. Tupperware: the Promise of Plastic in 1950s America, Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press.

Clegg B. 1993. The Man Who Made Littlewoods: the Story of John Moores, London, Hodder and Stoughton.

Collins B. 1990. “American Enterprise and the British Comparison”, in B. Collins and K. Robbins (eds.), British Culture and Economic Decline, London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, p. 129-198.

Cooke S.G. 1983. It Wasn't All Work,, London, Regency Press.

Coopey R., S. O’connell, and D. Porter 1999. “Mail Order in the United Kingdom c. 1880-1960: how mail order competed with other forms of retailing”, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 9 (3), p. 261-73.

Emmett B. and J.E. Jeucks 1950. Catalogues and Counters: A History of Sears, Roebuck and Company, Chicago, University of Chicago Press.

Kay & Company 1919. The History of 125 Years, Worcester, Kay & Company.

Kemp P. 1966. “The Department Store on 6,000,000 Doorsteps”, Focus, July, p. 9-13.

Kipping M. 1997. “Consultancies, Institutions and the Diffusion of Taylorism in Britain, Germany and France, 1920s to the 1950s”, Business History, 39 (4), p.67-83.

Latham F. 1972. A Century of Serving Customers: the Story of Montgomery Word, Chicago, Montgomery Ward Co.

Livesey F. 1979. The Distributive Trades, London, Heinemann.

Mann J. 1967. “The pattern of mail order”, British journal of Marketing, 1, p.42-53.

McFadyen E. 1976. The Future for Mail Order in the United Kingdom, London, The Post Office.

Monopolies and Mergers Commission 1997. Littlewoods Organization PLC and Freemans PLC: A Report on the Proposed Merger, cmnd. 3761, London, The Stationery Office.

Schlereth T. 1989. “Country stores, county fairs and mail-order catalogues”, in S.J. Bronner, (ed.), Consuming Visions: Accumulation and Display of Goods in America, 1880-1920, New York, W.W. Norton, p.339-75.

Tiratsoo N. and J. Tomlinson 1998. “Exporting the ‘Gospel of Efficiency’: United States Technical Assistance and British Industry 1945-1960”, Business History Review, 71, p. 41-81.

Weil G. 1977. Sears, Roebuck, U.S.A.: the great American catalog store and how it grew, New York, Stein and Day.

Notes

1 T. Schlereth, “Country Stores, county fairs and mail-order catalogues: consumption in rural America”, in S. Bronner (ed.), Consuming Visions: Accumulation and Display of Goods in America, 1880-1920, New York, W.W. Norton, 1989, p.372-73.

2 D. Blanke, Sowing the American Dream: how Consumer Culture took root in the Rural Midwest, Athens, Ohio University Press, 2000, p. 184-215.

3 P. Beaver, A Pedlar’s Legacy: the Origins and History of Empire Stores 1831-1981, London, Henry Melland, 1981, p. 11; R. Brandon, “The Origin and Development of Mail Order in the United Kingdom”, Journal of Advertising History, 8, 1984, p. 6-11.

4 R. Coopey, S. O’Connell and D. Porter, “Mail Order in the United Kingdom c. 1880-1960: how mail order competed with other forms of retailing”, International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 9 (3), 1999, p. 261-73.

5 A. Chandler Jr., A., Scale and Scope: the Dynamics of Industrial Capitalism, Cambridge MA, Harvard University Press, 1990, p. 58-62.

6 Ibid., p. 255-61.

7 The History of 125 Years, Worcester, Kay & Company, 1919, p.2.

8 Chandler 1990: 256.

9 A. Chandler Jr., Strategy and Structure: Chapters in the History of the American Industrial Enterprise, Cambridge, MA, MIT Press, 1962, p.226-32; Royal Welsh Warehouse, Rules & Regulations, January 1880, Reality plc, Worcester.

10 Worcester Daily Times, 14 September 1908.

11 Beaver 1981: 65.

12 “Grattan Story” typescript, f.49, 75, 89, Grattan plc, Bradford.

13 B. Clegg, The Man Who Made Littlewoods: the Story of John Moores, London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1993, p.57; Wilson, interviewed by Sean O’Connell, 18 November 1996; The Times, 27 May 1936.

14 M. Kipping, “Consultancies, Institutions and the Diffusion of Taylorism in Britain, Germany and France, 1920s to the 1950s”, Business History, 39 (4), 1997, p.67-83; Report on Bedaux Survey of Empire Stores, March-April 1934, and Joseph Fattorini’s notes on the management of Empire Stores, 20 May 1940, Empire Stores archive, Redcats UK, Bradford.

15 S. Cooke, It Wasn't All Work, London, Regency Press, 1983, p.89, 106-08.

16 N. Tiratsoo and J. Tomlinson, “Exporting the ‘Gospel of Efficiency’: United States Technical Assistance and British Industry 1945-1960”, Business History Review; 71, 1998, p. 41-81.

17 Anglo-American Council on Productivity, Productivity Report on Retailing, Anglo-American Council on Productivity, London, 1952, p.45.

18 AACP

19 Coopey, O’connell and Porter 1999: 269-70.

20 Chandler 1990: 260; Blanke 2000: 184, 202.

21 F. Livesey, The Distributive Trades, London, Heinemann, 1979, p. 106-07; E. McFadyen, The Future for Mail Order in the United Kingdom, London, The Post Office, 1976, p.1.

22 J. Mann, “The pattern of mail order”, British journal of Marketing, 1, 1967, p.44, p.48.

23 N. Biggart, Charismatic Capitalism: Direct Seliing Organizations in America, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1989, p. 8-12,160-61.

24 P. Kemp, “The Department Store on 6,000,000 Doorsteps”, Focus, July 1966, p. 9-13; A. Clarke, Tupperware: the Promise of Plastic in 1950s America, Washington, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1999, p. 95-100, 188-90.

25 B. Collins, “American Enterprise and the British Comparison”, in B. Collins and K. Robbins (eds.), British Culture and Economic Decline, London, 1990, p. 182-83.

26 Monopolies and Mergers Commission (MMC), The Littlewoods Organisation PLC and Freemans PLC: A Report on the Proposed Merger, cmnd. 3761, London, The Stationery Office, 1997, p. 81.

27 Ibid.

Auteurs

University of Wales, Aberystwyth and University College Worcester

© Publications de l’Institut de recherches historiques du Septentrion, 2002

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540

Cette publication numérique est issue d’un traitement automatique par reconnaissance optique de caractères.

Acheter

Volume papier

leslibraires.fr
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search