The First Catalogue and The Winnipeg Store

The First Catalogue

The first 72-page catalogue was a price list for goods available either by mail or through company stores, including fabric, ready-made clothing, household textiles, millinery, floor coverings, footwear, hardware, groceries, drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. The few illustrations were line drawings. By 1901, the catalogue had grown to 201 pages and included many more illustrations.

The mail-order operation was handled through the Winnipeg store, with goods coming from the shelves of the store. The saleshop accounts were organized by department (e.g., ladies' wear, footwear, hardware). The Hudson's Bay Company catalogue noted that it was "five days quicker than any other mail-order house of equal standing" and promoted its stores as well as catalogue shopping.

The Winnipeg Store

When Eaton's opened its grand store in Winnipeg in 1905, Commissioner C. C. Chipman tried to convince the Governor to expand the Hudson's Bay Company store to compete with Eaton's. However, the retail operation was considered a sideline within the fur trade division. In 1911, H. E. Burbidge, son of the owner of the great Harrods department store in London, visited the saleshops and made recommendations. Burbidge served as Stores Commissioner in Winnipeg for a number of years, during which time the Hudson's Bay Company separated the fur trade, retail stores, and land sales division.
by Catherine C. Cole

© Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation

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