Born in Bellême, Orne, at 3:00 A. M. on Bastille Day, the son of a banker, he began as a simple clerk in Bellême before he left to become a fabric salesman selling shawls. In 1829 he settled in Paris and married Marguerite Guerin in 1836.
He set up Le Bon Marché as a goods store in 1838, but his innovations in distribution became most noticeable after 1852. After this, the store grew to be among the, if not the, largest in Paris, and where he spent the rest of his life. The world's Fair in 1855 gave him further ideas on how to innovate. These involved the notion of browsing, greater advertisements, fixed prices and in 1856 a catalogue. His wife also played an important role in expanding the business. He also has a hospital named after him. He died in Paris.
In 2011 a TV documentary Seduction in the City the birth of shopping describes Boucicaut as a genius. To target the new middle class woman and attract her to a fantasy land where all types of goods were available and where she could go un-chaperoned.
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