Changing hands, 1892-1940

A reproduction postcard of the Barbershop, from the 1930’s

Time for a Takeover

Fortunately for the department store a group of five businessmen stepped forward to save it from an early bath. The enterprise was made a limited company. Fresh faced, Bon Marche Limited started trading with a capital of £120,000. In 1892, the first year in which records survive, there were twenty-six departments. By the end of the century, considerable re-building now offered the shop brand new fashion departments and fitting rooms and a tea room. By 1911, profits were nearly £30,000, and the directors felt confident enough to expand the premises into next door shops

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Purchasing Pratts and acquiring Quins

In 1919, Pratts of Streatham was acquired for £90,000. The following year, the next door business went the same way. Quin and Axtens joined the company, and now 3 shops traded under Bon Marche. As late as 1923, deliveries to customers were still being made by horse drawn carts. By 1924, there were a total of 48 departments, with sales of over £726,800. This expansion had not gone unnoticed. For in 1926, the business was bought by Gordon Selfridge, and became one of the Selfridge Provincial Stores Group (SPS). When the Selfridge empire was in danger of imploding by the start of the Second World War, the Partnership acquired the SPS group in 1940.

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