Advertisement for a Grand Christmas Bazaar at the Bon Marché store
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The Bon Marché drapery store was opened in Paris by Aristide Boucicaut in 1852 in a set of buildings on the Rue du Bac in the aristocratic district of Saint-Germain. His business was very profitable and bigger premises were soon required. A larger, more elegant store, five stories high, was built opposite the original shop.
Boucicaut was a great business man and instituted many new ideas to help sell his clothes. Customers were encouraged to browse without being obliged to make any purchase. The practice of bartering was prohibited. Instead, a set price was marked on each garment. Customers also had the right to return or exchange goods. Boucicaut's business flourished. His marketing skills and innovative ideas proved so successful that they were adopted around Europe.