The first chain store company in the world: W.H. Smith


W.H. Smith is the first chain store company in the world and was responsible for the creation of the ISBN book catalogue system. ISBN catalogue invention.

In 1792 Henry Walton Smith and his wife Anna established W H Smith as a news vendor business in London. The firm took advantage of the railway boom by opening newsstands on railway stations, starting with Euston in 1848. They also made use of the railways to become the leading national distributor of newspapers. They were the only newsagent found at London railway stations in the early years, which allows them to claim to be the company to use a chain store format in the world.

In 1966, W H Smith originated a 9-digit code for uniquely referencing books, called Standard Book Numbering or SBN. It was adopted as international standard ISO 2108 in 1970, and was used until 1974, when it became the ISBN scheme. (Wikipeida)

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