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Robinsons: Down memory lane with Singapore's oldest home-grown department store

Published on Jun 14, 2014 3:03 PM
Shoppers at Robinsons Orchard, which opened on Nov 15, 2013. -- PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER FILE 

Robinsons made news recently when Franz Kraatz, the man credited with revamping the staid image of the 156-year-old department store, left his managing director's position just seven months after the new Robinsons Orchard's grand opening in November last year.

We look back on the defining moments of Singapore's oldest home-grown department store.

1858: A new firm, Spicer & Robinson, is founded by Englishman Philip Robinson, then living in Singapore, and James Gaborian Spicer, a former keeper of the Singapore Jail. The company is located at Commercial Square, now known as Raffles Place.

1859: The firm expands from mainly selling groceries to millinery and dressmaking. By the end of the year, James Spicer has left the business and the company is renamed Robinson & Co. Philip Robinson also brings in a new business partner, George Rappa Jr.

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