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No Mean City: 1914 to 1950s

Trade and Communications

Retail Trade

By Michael Moss

Shepherds Dairy During the inter-war years the pattern of shopping in Glasgow remained relatively unchanged, even though some national retailers, such as H Samuels the jewellers and the Maypole dairies, had begun to appear on the city's streets. Even though Masseys was acquired by the London-based grocery chain Home & Colonial in 1930, it continued to trade under its old name. In the depressed years of the 1930s food shops had to struggle against falling prices and government policy that gave preference to imperial produce.

Advertisement Despite the post-war recession warehousemen were confident that trade would recover. In the mid-1920s MacDonalds embarked on a massive refurbishment of their Buchanan Street store which increased the sales area four-fold and added several new departments. Across the street the young Hugh Fraser rebuilt his family store which opened in 1931 to coincide with the slump. Determined to defend his local market against an invasion from multiple stores south of the border, he began to acquire other Glasgow stores, beginning with Arnott's in 1936. Within twelve years he owned fifteen Scottish stores that continued to trade under their own names.

Window shopping Rationing and fixed prices were introduced for many goods in January 1940 and continued for some items until the early 1950s. With many men called up to fight, this placed great strain on shopowners and warehousemen, particularly as officials in Whitehall did not seem to appreciate that Scotland was a large country with higher distribution costs than in England. So as to save materials "utility" designs were introduced for household furniture and furnishings and clothing.

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