Mail – changing the face of retail

The first recorded mail order catalogue in Britain was produced by in 1667 by gardener, William Lucas. He wanted to inform his customers of his prices so distributed booklets. However, it wasn’t until the establishment of the national postal service in 1840s that mail order really began to take off.

British entrepreneur, Pryce Pryce-Jones is credited with setting up the first modern mail order company in 1861. He distributed Welsh flannel catalogues across the country, allowing people to choose the items they wished and order them via the post. The idea changed the face of retail forever.

The 1930s saw a resurgence of the catalogue industry. The country was slowly moving out of depression, wages stabilised and people had marginally more disposable income. On the back of this, Littlewoods released their first catalogue which allowed people, and especially women, to shop from the comfort of their homes.

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