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Kimono shop Echigo-ya was world's 1st large-scale retailer

 
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shikisoku
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:41 am    Post subject: Kimono shop Echigo-ya was world's 1st large-scale retailer Reply with quote
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Echigo-ya, a kimono store that was the predecessor of Mitsukoshi department store, was the world's first large-scale retailer and the biggest store throughout the 18th century, according to a study by Japanese and French scholars.

Echigo-ya started business in Edo, today's Tokyo, in 1673 during the Edo period (1603-1867).

The latest discovery was made by Tsunehiko Yui, a researcher of business history and the curator of Mitsui Bunko, or Mitsui Archives. Mitsui Bunko is known for its vast collection of historical business records and its research of such records related to the Mitsui family business conglomerate.

In comparing the records of Echigo-ya with those from Europe and other regions, Yui confirmed the store's annual sales in the 18th century were equivalent to about 10 billion yen in today's terms.

It also boasted one of the world's largest workforces and ground area at the time. The shop employed at least 300 people and occupied an area up to about 2,400 square meters.

The recent study was conducted jointly with Prof. Patrick Fridenson of France's state-run School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences, who is also a researcher of business history.

The results of the two scholars' research were presented at the Japan-France business management history conference.

Echigo-ya introduced a new sales formula in Japan of "cash payment, no discounts and no markups," in its sales of kimono and other merchandise to a wide range of ordinary people.

The shop's business grew rapidly. According to ledgers stored at Mitsui Bunko, in the 10-year period from 1739, Echigo-ya's annual sales amounted to 200,000 ryo. One ryo is equivalent to between 40,000 yen and 60,000 yen today.


more on http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/T130203003263.htm
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