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MR. SELFRIDGE" OK STORES. ... At a meeting of the London .SoCsiety, r Mr !:'H.:.'Gordon:-: Selfridgel iecture'd;;on' "The Great Departmental Stores,'^ tracing the evolution of the shop., from a^icie, nt; :times ; to, ihe present -period. '• Lord Leverhulme, who presided, said that the great store crystallised various businesses under one roof, and saved housewives. ;from walking froni: one-end of the'town to the other, and there were mdny other advantages, that made the stores- method of: shopping' atrattive and economical. Mr,. Self ridge traced shopping from the.. caravan system. When" one pic-. tured the caravans leaving the gates of Babylon, Bagdad, or Nineveh, He. said, it ; ppened ■ the eyes to see any' Aladdin's lamp it was desired to discover. In'the ages-2000 to 3000 years, before Christ the Phoenicians had as much courage as any business man could boast of now. To one who appreciated the science of business the thought of those people doing, the wonderful things they did in the way. of commerce so many years ago filled, the mind with charm; From the caravan came the pedlar's' p'sicky to wliich succeeded .the booth, which was tiie father of'the'small shop. About seventy-, live years ago, two people, fine in' America and one in England, hit upon the big shop idea, the latter being Mr, William .AYhiteTey. He did hot believe that either had any conception of the. extent to- which the combination of business might be carried. That kind" of business gradually grew, particularly in** France, where the Bon March* was a typical example. . The great de-. paiitment store had developed. 'The.! term was an unhappy one that originated •in America, where it became the vogue ■to secure . extensive premises that were too large to finance and departments were run on a percentage basis with wholesale houses. There was not a family, not an individual, not in daily need of one or more things oifered for sale^by the great distributing hoiises, and the freedom offered the public/made ;i them popular.. It 1 was, therefore, possible, for the store to have. an, in%ence in the direction of a higher' standard-, of '■ living. It was also •responsible for such influence on the lives of its very large staff. Mr Self ridge devoted considerable attention to the architecture of stores, its utility and beauty. There Avas a great want of really fine buildings for thepurpose of: doing business in. It \vas the duty of the great house to unite beauty with its effort, and there was no better way than by developing the art of architecture.' He proceeded to show 1 pictures of stores in Chicago, Toronto, \. Winnipeg, Paris, Philadelphia,, Buenos Ayres, Sydney, South Africa,; Madras, Shanghai, Tokio, New York,, and some London town and suburban stores, expressing the opinion— horn an architectural standpoint—that the London houses shown should be burnt or pulled down. The mammoth buildings in ;America and Canada arid the. interior . decoration of maiiy of the great stores were of great interest, as were the examples ■ shown of German: stores, it being insisted in Berlin that a, man. must, build a store on one general plan .and in one general "style of architecture. The effect. was » admirable—from the German point of view. One defect of the style, which now prevailed all over Germany, was that (Tne i front windows were slits that did not permit the'entrance of daylight. in answer to questions^ Mr Selfridge said that the large store did hod destroy the small shop that was run: with' ! ability. - ■ • ' ' ;

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SCIENCE OF BUSINESS., Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9612, 17 May 1919

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SCIENCE OF BUSINESS. Ashburton Guardian, Volume XXXIX, Issue 9612, 17 May 1919