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Consumer ChroniclesCultures of Consumption in Modern French Literature$
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David H. Walker

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781846314872

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846317156

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The Big Sell

The Big Sell

(p.139) 8 The Big Sell
Consumer Chronicles
Liverpool University Press

Aside from department stores, some groups of small shopkeepers offered an alternative to unattractive little shops in France. These shopkeepers assembled in arcades and provided a more congenial environment to attract customers, becoming an important forerunner of the department store as well as the modern shopping mall. Napoléon I's liberalisation of the laws governing commerce led to the appearance of new stores in the early years of the nineteenth century, offering other forms of shopping before the department stores became the target of resentment by small shops. These innovations bear witness to sales and marketing strategies that Honoré de Balzac highlights in his 1844 novella Gaudissart II. Balzac also gives centre stage to the sale of a piece of merchandise, which he considers a key drama in human interactions, and demonstrates the techniques in customer relations in action.

Keywords:   France, department stores, small shops, shopping, sales, marketing, customer relations, merchandise, Honoré de Balzac, Gaudissart II

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