It’s pretty much clear that this is an age of disruptors – across fields as diverse as transport to entertainment – incumbents are struggling to keep up with newer start-ups and technologies. But here’s one who’s been doing it right since 1858.
We’re speaking of none other than Robinsons: you may know them as a stalwart in the local retail scene but with the store celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, it’s not only one of the earliest retail players but also one of Singapore’s oldest businesses – period.
Companies with such an extensive history get to stay around because they’re constantly relevant – or better yet, they innovate. Among Robinsons’ many innovations: it became the first department store in Asia to be fully air-conditioned – way back in 1955. Staging its own in-store fashion shows, in-house tailoring and offering a personal shopper service? Yup, the store’s claimed firsts in all of those as well. “Robinsons was the first to sell (a variety) of new things – for example, bicycles in the earliest days (1907) and exclusive designer labels during our three decades at Centrepoint,” says Christophe Cann, Robinsons’ group CEO.
Other fun facts: Women wearing pants may seem like a no-brainer these days – but it wasn’t always so – Robinsons’ was the first department store to bring in women’s pants. How’s that for progressive?
Check out the rest of the company’s innovations in the video above – because really, how many local companies can you name that has roots going back to the 19th century?