Retail reflection. Shopping on the other side of “Iron Curtain”

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional


It is already 20 years since the collapse of communism in central and east eastern Europe. Changes that began in Poland with the Solidarity movement led to the fall of the Berlin Wall. Events signalled not only the collapse of communism, but also the start of the transition from a centrally planned economy to a market economy, as well as the opening of new markets for retailing. I grew up in Gdansk, Poland, near the gate to the Gdansk Shipyard renowned, for the Solidarity strikes in the 1980s. It was during the final decade of the communist system. A reader from western Europe may not be aware of the conditions behind the Iron Curtain, and so in this short article I would like to share some of my shopping experiences from that period. I must confess that nowadays some of the issues described below appear quite curious, even to me. Nevertheless, this fairly recent past is likely to influence current Polish consumers who remember that time, even though now they are able to shop in an environment not much different from the rest of western Europe. Today, while visiting the shopping malls that are mushrooming across the cities, the supermarkets, small chain shops and grocery markets, it is hard to believe how differently everything looked just over 20 years ago.
Original languageEnglish
Trade journalThe Retail Digest
Pages (from-to)12-21
Publication statusPublished - 2009
MoE publication typeD1 Article in a trade journal


  • 512 Business and Management
  • retail
  • Poland
  • shopping


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