In 1857, Robinson moved from Melbourne, Australia, to Singapore and began working as an accountant for Cursetjee and Company. A year later, Robinson partnered with Spicer and started a merchandising business under the name Spicer and Robinson. The company was renamed Robinson and Company in October 1859 when Spicer left the business and a new partner, George Rappa, stepped in and continued the business. By 1881, Robinsons had become a popular European community site in Peninsular Malaysia. The store relocated several times before returning to its original location at Raffles Place in 1891.
The store closed during the Japanese occupation and reopened when the British returned to Singapore. In 1955, Robinsons took over John Little, the oldest department store in Singapore and became the first department store in the Far East to be fully air-conditioned.
After much damage to the store in a fire, a new Robinsons store opened on December 11, 1972 at the Specials Shopping Center along Orchard Road. In July 1977, the company opened a branch at the Clifford Center. By June 1983, the company had moved its main store on Orchard Road to The Centrepoint, closing its branch at Clifford Center in November of that year.
As of 2014, the company has 4 stores opened in Singapore and Malaysia, with 3 stores located in Singapore, located at Raffles City Shopping Mall, Jem (a shopping mall on the outskirts of Jurong), and The Heeren. It also has a store at The Gardens at Mid Valley City shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
However, after a period of sales without much revenue, the Robinsons began to close their stores. By 2016, Robinsons & Co launched its first e-commerce website with the 2016 Fall/Winter Campaign and closed the last John Little store in Singapore.
By 2020, due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Robinsons decided to close all of its stores in Malaysia and Singapore and by 2021 to close store in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
On 10 June 2021, Robinsons announced its return as an online store, Robinsons Online, after being acquired by wholesale supplier Canningvale Australia. On June 24, 2021, Robinson’s online shopping site went live.
Although no longer one of the leading chain stores in Singapore, Robinsons is still a leading online retailer in the lion island nation.
According to channelnewsasia.com, channelnewsasia.com, eresources.nlb.gov.sg