Advertisement for a clearance sale at the Bon Marché store
Medium: Print on paper
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. By 1867, the store also sold dresses, coats, millinery, hosiery and shoes. Business was so successful that larger premises were soon required. Boucicaut built a new and improved store, five stories high, opposite the original shop. It was an extravagant building decorated with mosaics and sculptures, a "temple of consumerism" selling the idea of luxury and style.
Customers were encouraged to browse and not feel obliged to make any purchases. A set price was marked on each garment and customers had the right to return or exchange goods. One of Boucicaut's most innovative sales tactics was to announce the periodic sale of goods at reduced prices. This eye-catching leaflet advertises one such sale.
Boucicaut's business flourished. His marketing skills and innovative ideas proved so successful that they were adopted around Europe.