Next event of Biz Hist Collective – 18 November

Paths Taken: The Strategic Trajectories of Retail Organisations in the United States and the United Kingdom, 1950-1980

Date: 18/11/2020 @ 16.00 hrs London
Speaker: Tom Buckely (Sheffield)
Moderator: Nicholas Wong (Northumbria)

Building on recent advances in knowledge relating to the evolution and transformation of retail institutions (Howard, 2015) and specific retail organisations (Scott and Walker, 2017; Buckley, 2018) this paper examines the strategic trajectories of retail organisations operating in the United States and the United Kingdom between 1950 and 1980. Taking an international comparative approach, the question this research seeks to answers is “how did the strategy of retail organisations develop over this thirty-year period and why did retail organisations take the strategic decisions that they did?” This question is addressed through utilising archival evidence from a department operating in the United Kingdom (the John Lewis Partnership) and the United States (Strawbridge and Clothier) and mass merchandisers operating in the UK (Marks and Spencer) and the U.S. (J.C. Penney). The archival data is utilised to examine both internal methods of organisation and managerial evaluations of the external environment retailers were operating in. The assessment of archival data reveals that each retailer took a different strategic direction, and that critical for the strategic success of the company, was the extent to which each retailer managed to construct a coherent, consistent retail proposition enabling them to function as an orchestrator of supply and demand. 

Register here.

All sessions at 10.00 Bogota / 16.00 hrs London

All speakers, abstracts and registration details available at:

Look forward to seeing you there!

On behalf of the Business History Collective