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Global and local: retail transformation and the department store in Britain and Japan, 1900-1940

Fujioka, R and Stobart, J (2018) Global and local: retail transformation and the department store in Britain and Japan, 1900-1940. Business History Review, 92 (2). pp. 251-280. ISSN 2044-768X

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Abstract

Department stores are often seen as transformative of both retail and wider social practices. This article offers a comparative analysis of department stores in early twentieth-century Britain and Japan to assess the extent to which there were universal qualities defining the operation, practices, and experience of department stores and to explore the ways in which they might be seen as transforming retailing in the two countries. Despite similarities in their origin, organization, and service to customers, we highlight the greater diversity of British department stores and their incremental development. Japanese stores were a far more powerful force for change because they formed part of a concerted and conscious program of modernization.

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