Gordon Selfridge & The Romance of Commerce

Gordon Selfridge's The Romance of Commerce was published by John Lane-The Bodley Head in 1918. It has chapters on ancient commerce, China, Greece, Venice, Lorenzo de' Medici, the Fuggers (600 year old German retailing dynasty) the Hanseatic League, fairs, guilds, early British commerce, trade and the Tudors, the East India Company, north England’s merchants, the growth of trade, trade and the aristocracy, Hudson’s Bay Company, Japan, and 'representative businesses of the 20th century' (i.e. Sefridges-- an excellent study of running a huge store, distribution, chains of command with a 6 foot folding chart).This copy is signed by the Merchant Prince - 'To travel hopefully is better than to arrive and all true success is labour. H. Gordon Selfridge 1929.'

He was the first to promote Christmas sales with the phrase "Only _____ Shopping Days Until Christmas", a catchphrase that was quickly picked up by retailers in other markets. He is also said to have coined the phrase 'The customer is always right' and basically invented modern shopping - the idea of shopping for pleasure, destination shopping etc., now known as 'retail therapy'.

His original store had reception areas (some for different nations), even a 'Silent Room' in which to chill out.  He also managed to get the London phone number '1'. Malcolm McLaren's 1991 extravaganza 'The Ghosts of Oxford Street' featured Sir Tom Jones as Gordon Selfridge singing 'I want money.'

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