La conquête des clients : les magasins Gonset et la Suisse occidentale (1920-1960)

Abstract : This thesis deals with chain stores. Its goal is to understand how these firms have endeavoured to conquer the customers (or consumers) of small towns and villages, unexplored territories of the history of retail trade and consumption. The concept of “conquest of customers” refers to two basic activities of retail trade. The first is to put the goods at the consumers’ disposal, which is the main function of the sector, according to economists. The second is to “capt” (capter in French) these consumers. To “capt”, according to Franck Cochoy’s definition, means to “try to exert a hold over, or attract to oneself, or retain those one has attracted” (Cochoy 2007, p. 204). The period under examination covers from 1920 through 1960. Those years witness a significant increase of chain stores in small Swiss communities and enable us to approach the conquest of customers in varied economic contexts, in times of crisis, of war and of abundance. This publication is mainly based on the study of Gonset Company’s archives, active in the western part of the country. However, it is not merely a matter of accumulating knowledge about this Swiss retailer and his competitors. The objective is also to enrich the history of retail trade, the history of consumption, and economic sociology thanks to the study of the Swiss case. This country, indeed, is an ideal framework to take account of the conquest of customers outside major cities: its urban network is mainly composed of small cities and villages.
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Joël Jornod. La conquête des clients : les magasins Gonset et la Suisse occidentale (1920-1960). Sociologie. Université Toulouse le Mirail - Toulouse II; Université de Neuchâtel (Suisse), 2017. Français. ⟨NNT : 2017TOU20027⟩. ⟨tel-02120474v2⟩

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