spencer shop Trivandrum (now RPG)-AND STORY OF SHOPS

 

Heritage

Since 1863, Spencer’s has been a part of the Indian retail landscape. At one time, the Spencer’s Empire stretched from Peshawar to Cochin, from Karachi to Chittagong, spanning the length and width of undivided India. Originally owned by a British gentleman – yes, there was a Mr. Spencer (John William Spencer, to be precise) – it acquired Indian ownership in the 1960s, and became part of the RPG Group in 1989.
In 1995, RPG Enterprises, the flagship company of the RPG Group, launched Foodworld as a joint venture with Hong-Kong based Dairy Farm International. The joint venture, which operated supermarkets under thename “Foodworld” and hypermarkets under the name “Giant”, was terminated in 2006. RPG retained 48 of the 93 stores it owned. These were re-furbished and their launch under the brand name, Spencer’s, kicked off a new phase in both the history of the Spencer’s brand, and the retailin India.
Since inception Spencer’s has been a consumer-centric brand, constantly innovating, pioneering formats, evolving over time but always keeping consumer needs and satisfaction center-stage. Back in 1920, we were the first grocery chain in India. In 1980, we became the first supermarket chain, and in 2001, we introduced India to the joys of hypermarket shopping. 
 http://www.finndian.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Spencers.jpg
 spencers shop at madras(chennai)-1910

History

Spencer Plaza was built in 1863–1864, established by Charles Durant and J. W. Spencer in Anna Salai, then known as Mount Road, in the Madras Presidency. The property was originally belonged to Spencer & Co Ltd. Spencer & Co opened the first Departmental store in the Indian subcontinent in 1895 and the store had over 80 individual departments. After a few years, Eugene Oakshott, owner of Spencer's, shifted the department store to a new building, which was an example of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. The building was designed by W. N. Pogson. In 1983, the original building was destroyed in a fire. The present Spencer Plaza was constructed on the same site measuring about 10 acres and was opened in 1991Spencer's Departmental Store

What has remained unchanged almost 150 years is the trust the Spencer’s brand evokes. To the consumer, it carries the promise of innovation, quality, and service; the confidence that they will always be able to find a Spencer’s at a convenient location; that it will have a pleasant ambience; and that it will offer a wide range of products at affordable prices.

A 150th year commemoration?


Durrant and Spencer shop
Durrant and Spencer shop
Acouple of weeks ago, a new Spencer’s sign was emblazoned on the Madras skyline. This time it was of Spencer’s Hypermarket, the first hypermarket in the city. But I haven’t heard anything about anybody mentioning that this landmark event was taking place during the 150th year of the Spencer sign being first seen in Madras. Perhaps it is time to remember those beginnings.

It was in 1843 that Madras got what might be called its first department store, Oakes, Dalgairns & Co. It became Oakes, Patridge & Co. in 1848 and Oakes & Co in 1856. It was shortly after this that two new Assistants joined it, Charles Durrant and John William Spencer. Both were ambitious to shake the pagoda tree hard, but it was Durrant who took the first step. Oakes was on Popham’s Broadway and Durrant, deciding in 1863 that the newly opening up area, the Great Choultry Plain on either side of Mount Road, offered an opportunity for an Oakes-like venture, opened a similar, but much smaller, shop at the eastern end of Mount Road, proclaiming it as hosting a ‘Merchant & Commission Agent’. Later that year, possibly in June, Spencer joined him and Madras saw the Spencer name on its skyline for the first time. The sign at 187 Mount Road read ‘Durrant & Spencer, Auctioneers & Commission Salesmen’. The address is likely to have been somewhere around where the Bata showroom and the Philatelic Bureau now are.

In 1867, Durrant was out of the business — reasons not known — and the sign at the same address read ‘J.W. Spencer & Co.’ Four years later, on January 1, it was announced that “from and after this date their business will be conducted under the style and designation of Spencer & Co. …” That was the year, 1871, that Eugene Phillip Oakshott moved from another trading house and joined Spencer’s. In 1882 he became its sole proprietor but wisely realised — unlike a later generation — that Spencer was a name that meant something in Madras and retained it. Now, in its 150th year, it’s a name bigger than ever on the Madras skyline but far from its Mount Road beginnings.
This year is also a centenary Spencer’s has not marked. It was in 1913 that Spencer’s entered the hotel business that was to make it No.1 in the field in India pre-Independence. In 1891, Eugene Oakshott bought the Connemara Hotel, which had previously been known as the Albany Hotel and as the Imperial Hotel before that.
Next, in 1909, he bought the Elphinstone Hotel and renamed it Spencer Hotel. This property was where the Indian Overseas Bank headquarters came up. Shortly after his death in 1911, his son Roy bought The West End in Bangalore. And then, in 1913, when Eugene Oakshott’s nephew J.O. Robinson (Miscellany, April 22), became Chairman of the Company — after Oakshott’s two sons showed little interest in the business — Spencer’s bought the three hotels but failed to acquire the Cubbon Hotel in Bangalore which it was leasing.
In time, Robinson and his successors were to spread the hotel business throughout India, but reduced its presence in it after Independence. 


RPG Enterprises and the Spencers Acquisition

RPG Enterprises (RPG) was the fourth largest conglomerate (called business house in India) in India, with sales of over 45 billion rupees (U.S. $1.3 billion) in 1995. RPG business interests spanned a variety of industries including tires, power/transmission, agribusiness, telecommunications, financial services, and, with the acquisition of Spencers & Co. in 1989, retailing. It boasted partnerships with a number of international companies, including 16 of the Fortune 500 companies.
Spencers & Co. had been founded in 1865 as a small store in Madras offering imported specialty items to the large British expatriate and military population. By 1897, it had grown to be the largest store in India, a 65,000-square-foot enclosed collection of specialty stores. In 1981, this facility was destroyed by fire. Spencers had been at its peak in 1940, when it had 50 stores in virtually all major cities throughout India. Still it offered only imports, and had virtually no Indian customers. When India gained independence from the British in 1947, Spencers' executives didn't believe that the demand for imports would erode. It plummeted, however, and in the early 1970s, the deteriorating chain was sold to an entrepreneur who continued to offer food, clothing, cosmetics and other high-priced specialty items to the expatriate community.
Spencers' fortunes continued to slide. By 1989, it was only a shell of its former self. Only nine stores remained in operation in several of the larger cities in India, including a 20,000-square-foot store in Madras and a 10,000-square-foot store in Bangalore, which were the largest stores of any kind in each city. (Refer to Exhibit 1, Map of India.) The other stores only had 2,000 to 3,000 square feet, but had excellent central locations. Spencers' profits were fleeting and it was offered for sale.
RPG purchased Spencers that year, and established it as a separate division with Pradipta K. Mohapatra, a seasoned RPG executive, at its helm. The decision to acquire this retail company was largely justified by its undervalued real estate portfolio, a distribution infrastructure (which in fact was non-existent), and a profitable travel agency specializing in the distribution of airline tickets.
A number of Spencers stand-alone divisions were obvious losers and were quickly slated for closing: furniture manufacturing, restaurants, manufacturing of air conditioners and other small electrical appliances, pharmaceutical production, and repair shops. The travel agency was clearly a winner and was kept. RPG executives were, however, initially undecided about whether to close down the retail operations altogether.
The "Spencers" brand name was well known throughout India as synonymous with quality, but unfortunately also with high prices. Indeed, there was a popular expression in India: "You don't have to pay the Spencers' price." In addition, RPG had no experience in retailing. They couldn't rely on existing expertise within Spencers, since its employees were poorly qualified at every level and grossly underpaid, even by Indian standards. The general manager of the large Madras store, for example, was only paid the equivalent of about $70 per month. It appeared that it would be most prudent and profitable to close down the stores and simply rent the space.
Yet Spencers' nine stores still remained the largest chain in India of any kind of retail operation, and it seemed wasteful simply to throw away whatever potential there might be for improvement. The decision was ultimately made to refit one store to test its potential. If the experiment failed, they would close the retail operations.
The store in Bangalore, therefore, was modernized in 1991, retaining its profile as a department store offering hardware, food, kitchen appliances and clothing. When it reopened, sales exploded to four times the previous levels and the store broke even in the first month.


 Today, it still owns the Connemara,
Connemara

  Taj - Connemara, Chennai





 The Savoy in Ooty,


 and 

The West End hotel


which it purchased in 1943. But in March 1984 it entered into a long-term lease agreement with the Taj Group, which now runs the three hotels under the Taj brand. But the properties are Spencer’s — and it is sad the Company has not commemorated its 100-year association with the residential hotel business.
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Spencer shop had branches in peermade,and vandiperiyar towns in the kerala high ranges mainly for Europeans who owned and ran most tea estates and cardamom estates ;in kerala at that time  ;where all types of English tinned food and English liquor were available;and other foreign luxury items
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 STORY OF THE VERY FEW BIG ;RETAIL SHOPS IN TRIVANDRUM
[THIRU ANANDA PURAM] 1950'S

Most Indian shopping takes place in open markets or millions of small, independent grocery and retail shops.
 Shoppers typically stand outside the retail shop, ask for what they want, and can not pick or examine a product from the shelf. Access to the shelf or product storage area is limited.
ബേക്കറിക്കട, കോഴിക്കോട്, 1908.-BAKERY
 Once the shopper requests the food staple or household product they are looking for, the shopkeeper goes to the container or shelf or to the back of the store, brings it out and offers it for sale to the shopper. Often the shopkeeper may substitute the product, claiming that it is similar or equivalent to the product the consumer is asking for.
കണ്ണൂരിലെ ചന്ത, 1932.MARKET AT KANNOOR
 The product typically has no price label in these small retail shops; although some products do have a manufactured suggested retail price (MSRP) pre-printed on the packaging. The shopkeeper prices the food staple and household products arbitrarily, and two consumers may pay different prices for the same product on the same day. Price is sometimes negotiated between the shopper and shopkeeper. The shoppers do not have time to examine the product label, and do not have a choice to make an informed decision between competitive products.
പൊന്നാനിത്തെരുവ്, 1930.PONNANI ROAD
SO THERE WAS NO REAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE, AS IN MODERN TIMES, IN ANY CITY IN INDIA THEN.
EXCEPT SPENCER SHOP 

AND KODER SHOP IN TVM AND COCHIN,[COCHIN JEW OWNED SHOP EST: 1868]


 

 

BOTH SIDE BY SIDE, ON MAIN ROAD TRIVANDRUM ;

Cochin Jews - Wiki&


 SEPARATED BY THE INDIA COFFEE HOUSE [ The India Coffee House; How India likes its coffee-http://blog.mahindrahomestays.com/the-india-coffee-house]

TRIVANDRUM WAS A 'ONE HORSE TOWN' THEN ,I CAN SAY IT WAS A HALF HORSE TOWN! ,SO DULL AND INACTIVE ,EXCEPT NEAR INDIA COFFEE HOUSE MAIN ROAD ,NEAR Y.W.C.A. JUST BECAUSE THAT WAS CLOSE MAY BE .
AND Y.W.C.A.TRIVANDRUM
AND UNIVERSITY COLLEGE TRIVANDRUM



CHAYA KADA[TEA SHOP ON THE ROAD SIDE]
ONLY IN THESE TWO SHOPS PEOPLE WERE ALLOWED TO ENTER THE SHOP,TOUCH THE ITEMS BEFORE BUYING ,AND LOOK AT THE PRICES AND DATE OF EXPIRY 

OTHER MUCH SMALLER SHOPS IN TRIVANDRUM INCLUDED THE S.P. STORE NEAR TRAVANCORE BANK ,MAIN ROAD.AND VEL&COMPANY NEAR PULIMOODU (MAIN POST OFFICE)JN:--

{THERE USED TO BE A PULI MARAM [TRANSLATE-TAMARIND TREE]BEFORE IT WAS CUT DOWN;SO THE NAME PULIMOODU[TRANSLATE-PLACE OF THE TAMARIND]}

IN SMALLER SHOPS SHOPPER WAS NOT ALLOWED TO ENTER SHOP; IF IT WAS CROWDED; AS IN EVENINGS!! CAN WE BELIEVE THIS IN THIS MODERN AGE OF FREE RETAILING?
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STORY OF MARK AND  SPENCER 
                                               
 

Marks  Spencer opens shop in the marketplace where its founder first set up stall 130 years ago


By Sam Adams
PUBLISHED:  15 March 2013 |
After starting out as a humble market stall 130 years ago - Marks & Spencer has grown into one of Britain's biggest and best-loved retail chains.
And now the firm is going back to its roots by opening a new Victorian-style 'penny bazaar' in Kirkgate Market, Leeds - where it all began in 1884.
Selling coffee and small archive items such as mugs and sweets, M&S is exploring its heritage to celebrate the opening of the company's archive to the public.
History: Marks & Spencer has opened a new 'penny bizarre-style stall in Leeds where it all began 130 years agoHistory: Marks & Spencer has opened a new 'penny bizarre-style stall in Kirkgate market, Leeds where it all began 130 years ago
Humble beginnings: An artist's impression of the very first stall which was located in the outside part of the city's marketplaceHumble beginnings: An artist's impression of the very first stall run by Michael Marks - which was located in the outside part of the city's marketplace
Pride: Staff members Chris Farren (left) and Patrick Gunn proudly display a basket of the firm's goods outside the new store which is next to the firm's centenary clock (right) was placed in market in 1984
Penny Bazaar: The new Marks and Spencer shop features a small display detailing the firm's history and sells a range of sweets, mugs, cards and other itemsPenny Bazaar: The new Marks & Spencer shop features a small display detailing the firm's history and sells a range of sweets, mugs, cards and other items
The Marks in Time exhibition will show off part of the archive, featuring photographs from the firm's hugely successful history.
The M&S Company Archive has a collection of over 70,000 historic items and was unveiled at the University of Leeds' Michael Marks Building in March 2012.
It charts the development of the household name from its roots at Kirkgate Market to the present day.
Phil Edwards, Deputy Store Manager of M&S Leeds Briggate and Manager of the new stall, said: 'We have had a lot of support from people locally in Leeds about the launch of the new stall and we are very excited to be bringing M&S back to its birthplace.
Founders: The men who gave us the famous Marks & Spencer brand - Michael Marks (left) and Thomas Spencer. 
Michael Marks (circa 1900).  
co-founder Thomas Spencer (circa 1900). The business started in the market
Founders: The men who gave us the famous Marks & Spencer brand - Michael Marks (left) and Thomas Spencer.
Both photographs were taken circa 1900
Roots: The arcade where the Marks & Spencer was housed in 1909. Despite their early success, neither Marks or Spencer could have foreseen the scale of the firm's future successRoots: The arcade where Marks & Spencer was launched (circa 1909). Despite their early success, neither Marks or Spencer could have foreseen the scale of their firm's future success
As it was: The market hall in 1910. Marks and Spencer now has more than 1,000 stores in 40 countriesAs it was: The market hall in 1910. Marks & Spencer now has more than 1,000 stores in 40 countries
'I am looking forward to welcoming customers old and new on 15th March and showcasing the history of the company.'
Marks & Spencer has 703 stores in the United Kingdom and 361 stores spread across more than 40 countries, and specialises in the selling of clothing and luxury food products. Its revenue in 2012 was nearly £10 billion.
This weekend, M&S will also unveil a new Heritage Trail in partnership with Leeds City Council. The self-guided walk on Saturday will start at the Kirkgate store and finish at the M&S company archive, taking in places of historic interest for the company around the city.
Alison Houston, Head of the M&S Company Archive, said: 'We are very excited about giving customers the chance to experience the origins of Marks & Spencer right inside its original setting at Kirkgate Market.
Celebration: M&S is revisiting its past in Leeds to mark the opening of its company archive to the publicCelebration: M&S is revisiting its past in Leeds to mark the opening of its company archive to the public
Origins: The famous brand began life as a stall in Kirkgate Market - which is still a popular retail spaceOrigins: The famous brand began life as a stall in Kirkgate Market - which is still a popular retail space
'M&S has deep historical links to Leeds, so the Heritage Trail is a unique opportunity to learn more about the origins of the company nearly 130 years ago and its connection to various parts of the city centre from 1884 through to the present day.'
Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council executive board member for development and the economy said: 'It is great to see M&S returning to its roots in Kirkgate Market.
'The market is an excellent place for new businesses to start up and test their products before taking the big leap onto the high street. I am sure that this new stall, along with the heritage trail, will stimulate great interest among visitors to the market and preview the extensive retail history M&S has in Leeds.
'I look forward to joining customer, tourists and historians taking the heritage trail around the city centre.'

HOW A POOR REFUGEE CREATED A BRITISH HIGH STREET INSTITUTION

Success: The firm's flagship store in London's Oxford StreetSuccess: The firm's flagship store in London's Oxford Street
The story of Marks & Spencer's remarkable success began in the 1880s when Michael Marks, a Polish Jew, joined forces with local man Thomas Spencer - a cashier.
Marks was working for a company in Leeds, called Barran, which employed refugees. A associate of his called Isaac Jowitt Dewhirst lent Mr Marks £5 which he used to establish his Penny Bazaar on Kirkgate Market, in Leeds.
Marks had little English when he arrived in Britain and received some tutelage from Dewhirst to help him with his business. But the most important contribution made by Dewhirst to the firm's success was when he introduced him to Spencer, who was known as an excellent book-keeper.
Marks began renting a permanent stall in Leeds' covered market, Kirkgate, in 1894 and invited Spencer to become his partner. Next to the stall was a poster with the words 'Don't Ask the Price, It's a Penny.'
After tasting early success, the pair rapidly expanded the business, opening market stalls around the North West of England.
The firm eventually spread throughout the UK, before opening stores in France, Canada, Hong Kong and around 40 other countries.
M&S in now best known for the quality of its products - and has more recently become a top destination for discerning food shoppers.
The firm had a global revenues of nearly £10 billion in 2012.

 Michael Marks, (June 1859 - December 31, 1907), was one of the two co-founders of the retail chain Marks and Spencer.Marks, who was born in Slonim, Russia, emigrated to England as a young man. He moved to Leeds where there was a company called Barran that was known to employ Jewish refugees.Marks met Isaac Dewhurst, the owner of a Leeds warehouse, in 1884. A deal was arranged whereby Marks agreed to buy good from Dewhurst and then to sell them on in villages around Leeds. The venture was a success and enabled Marks to raise enough capital to establish a stall in Leeds' open market. He also sold goods at Castleford and Wakefield markets.Marks also took the decision to rent an area at the new covered market in Leeds, which traded on six days of the week. Famously one of his stalls sold goods that only cost one penny. Next to the stall was a poster with the words "Don't Ask the Price, It's a Penny". Over the next few years Mark's expanded his business and opened similar stalls in covered market halls all over Yorkshire and Lancashire.In 1894, Marks decided that if he was to further expand the business he would need to find a business partner. He initially approached Isaac Dewhurst who decided against the offer but suggested that his cashier, Tom Spencer, might be interested. Spencer decided that the £300 required for a half-share in the business would be a good investment.The running of the business was split with Spencer managing the office and warehouse whilst Marks continued to run the market stalls. Spencer had developed some important contacts while working for Isaac Dewhurst and this allowed him to get the best prices for goods by dealing directly with the manufactures. Together Spencer and Marks were able to open stores in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Sheffield, Bristol, Hull, Sunderland and Cardiff.A new warehouse in Manchester was built in 1897. This store became the centre of a business empire which now included thirty-six branches. New stores had been built in Bradford, Leicester, Northampton, Preston, and Swansea.London now had a total of seven branches.On 5 May 1897, Marks was naturalised as a British subject.In 1903 Marks & Spencer became a limited company and Spencer's original £300 investment had risen to a value of £15,000 and he retired later that year. Michael Marks continued to develop the business until his death in 1907.Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Marks"

Marks & Spencer at Croydon in 1906

Michael Marks was born in Slonim, Russia in 1859.
 As a young man Marks emigrated to England. Without a trade and unable to speak the English language, Marks moved to Leeds where there was a company called Barran that was known to employ Jewish refuges.

In 1884 Marks met Isaac Dewhurst, the owner of a warehouse in Leeds. The two men arranged a deal where Marks agreed to buy good from Dewhurst and to sell them in the numerous villages around Leeds. The venture was a success and Marks soon raised enough money to establish a stall in Leeds' open market. He also sold goods at Castleford and Wakefield markets.

Marks also decided to rent an area at the new covered market in Leeds that traded six days a week. On one of his stalls Marks sold goods that only cost one penny. Next to the stall was a big poster with the words: Don't Ask the Price, It's a Penny. Over the next few years Mark's opened similar penny stalls in covered market halls all over Yorkshire and Lancashire.

In 1894 Marks decided he needed a partner to help him expand the business. He approached Isaac Dewhurst who decided against the offer but suggested that his cashier, Tom Spencer, might be interested. Spencer had been watching the career of Michael Marks for sometime and considered the £300 required for a half-share in his business to be a good investment.

It was agreed that Spencer would manage the office and warehouse whereas Marks would continue to run the market stalls. Spencer, who had developed some important contacts while working for Isaac Dewhurst, was able to get the best prices for goods by dealing directly with the manufactures. With the help of Tom Spencer Marks was able to open stores in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Sheffield, Bristol, Hull, Sunderland and Cardiff.

In 1897 Marks & Spencer built a new warehouse in Manchester. This now became the centre of their business empire that now included thirty-six branches. New stores had been built in Bradford, Leicester, Northampton, Preston, and Swansea. London had seven branches including those at Brixton, Kilburn, Islington and Tottenham.

In 1903 Marks & Spenser became a limited company. Spencer's £300 investment was now worth £15,000. Tom Spencer retired later that year but Michael Marks continued to develop the business. 1906 was a record year for the company with several stores taking over £4,000 a year. This included Liverpool (£9,857), Brixton (£9,766), Leeds (£8,701), Manchester (£8,459), Bristol (£6,242), Newcastle (£5,482), Hull (£4,513) and Middlesbrough (£4,064). Michael Marks collapsed and died on 31st December, 1907.

Thomas Spencer (Marks and Spencer)co-founder Thomas Spencer (circa 1900). The business started in the market

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Thomas Spencer's grave in Whittington, Staffordshire
Thomas Spencer (1852 – 25 July 1905) was a founder of Marks & Spencer, a major British retailer. He was born in Skipton, Yorkshire and married Agnes Spencer Whitfield at St Saviour, Cross Green, Leeds in 1892.
He was a cashier from the wholesale company I.J Dewhirst and in 1894 he joined Michael Marks to form Marks & Spencer. Spencer decided that the £300 required for a half-share in the business would be a good investment.
The running of the business was split between Spencer, who managed the office and warehouse, and Marks, who continued to run the market stalls. Spencer had developed some important contacts while working for Isaac Dewhirst and these allowed him to get the best prices for goods by dealing directly with the manufacturers. Together, Spencer and Marks were able to open stores in Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Middlesbrough, Sheffield, Bristol, Hull, Sunderland and Cardiff.
A new warehouse in Manchester was built in 1897. This store became the centre of a business empire that by then included thirty-six branches. New stores had been built in Bradford, Leicester, Northampton, Preston, and Swansea. London had a total of seven branches.
In 1903, Marks & Spencer became a limited company. Spencer's original £300 investment had grown to a value of £15,000 and he retired later that year.
Spencer's wife Agnes was born in the village of Marton, now a part of Middlesbrough. The couple met and married in Leeds. Agnes funded charitable work such as the Church of St Agnes in Easterside, Middlesbrough. She died in 1959 and is buried in the graveyard of St Cuthbert's Parish Church in Marton.