European department stores and Middle Eastern consumers: the Orosdi-Back Saga

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


In "another age of globalization", the Ets.Orosdi-Back were a trading company which stepped into the new business opportunities of the Middle East from the mid-19th century on. The Ets.Orosdi-Back became best known for their department stores in Istanbul, Cairo, Beirut, Tunis and Baghdad. Adolf Orosdi, a Hungarian army officer, who had found refuge in the Ottoman Empire, opened a first clothing store in Galata in 1855. With the Back family, equally of Jewish Austro-Hungarian descent, Orosdi and his sons began establishing similar stores elsewhere. In 1888, when their siege social was registered in Paris, they already had outlets in Philippopoli , Bucharest, Salonica, Izmir, Cairo, Alexandria, Tanta, and Tunis, as well as purchasing missions in industrial and commercial centers in Europe. Their business gradually evolved from wholesale to retailing, in particular through grands magasins, which differed from the bazaar. This study aims to make an original contribution to the history of department stores in the Middle East. Advertising nouveautes and articles de Paris, Orosdi-Back sold fashionable clothing and bonneterie, but also travel and household goods, toys etc. For decades they also had a large share in the marketing of fezzes. The consumption of foreign commodities gradually began to trickle down to the middle classes. Most etatist regimes therefore did not liquidate this class of foreign stores but nationalized them for their own economic purposes. In Egypt, the Omar Effendi chain, which carries the name of its origin in Istanbul, was recently re-privatised and purchased by a Saudi firm.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationIstanbul
PublisherOttoman Bank Archive and Research Centre
Number of pages92
ISBN (Print)9789944551892
StatePublished - 2007


  • Department stores -- Social aspects -- Middle East -- History


Dive into the research topics of 'European department stores and Middle Eastern consumers: the Orosdi-Back Saga'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this