Proposal preview

Globalisation and the department store: global-local hybridity, c.1900-2000

Retailing traditionally has been regarded as a localised commercial sector, compared with the internationalisation of manufacturing. As the local nature of the market requires retailers to be aware of local consumer culture, even global retailers need to target local demand. Many studies of retail development examine how retailers build their standard business model and apply this to the local and individual market. However, previous studies mainly focus on the strategy of successful (or occasionally failed) global companies, and the focus is generally on company strategy rather than local manifestations and experiences. In reality, the process of modernisation in retailing included many conflicts between old and new or local and global, in terms of culture, business model, management, shopping experience, and design. This session will therefore shed light on the diverse developments of department stores and on retailers’ and consumers’ responses to globalisation.

The panel seeks to address the following issues:
•Architecture and design – was there a global style and in what ways did this relate and change in response to local vernacular and/or retail needs?
•Management / business organisation – to what extent were these learnt from other parts of the world, either explicitly or by example; how did they relate to local ’traditional’ forms of retail business organisation?
•Branch networks – how and why did these emerge; what was there economic and cultural impact? How did the new store operation work for standardization?
•Stock and selling practices – is there a globalisation of goods; are department stores key to retail revolution?
•The shopping experience – how did this vary across space and time; how do different cultures relate to department store shopping?
•The department stores and modernity – what is the relationship and how has it changed over time and space? How has globalisation adapted to local market through department stores?
•multilateral comparison – Scholars from five different countries focus on the diverse developments of department stores in six different countries.


  • Jon Stobart, Manchester Metropolitan University,,
  • Rika Fujioka, Kansai University,,

Session members

  • Anneleen Arnout, University of Antwerp ,
  • Sang Chul Choi, Kansai University,
  • Rika Fujioka, kansai University,
  • Ian Mitchell, University of Wolverhampton ,
  • Younjung Oh, Seoul National University,
  • Martin Purvis, University of Leeds,
  • Nitin Sanghavi, University of Manchester,
  • Julia Sapin, Western Washington University,
  • Jon Stobart, Manchester Metropolitan University,

Proposed discussant(s)

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