Friday, November 15, 2019

From the business archives: 1957's top 20 retailers

The Food Chains Lead the Way.  (Business Week, 5/8/1958)

From the note card:
An explosive growth in supermarket chains since 1945
1.  new and bigger stores
2.  takeover of smaller companies
3.  elimination of less productive units

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

A&P Files for Bankruptcy and Aims to Sell 120 Stores.  (The New York Times, 7/20/2015)
Founded in 1859 as a mail-order tea business, A&P evolved into a discount food retailer that operated 16,000 stores by the mid-1930s and remained a dominant player in America’s grocery landscape into the second half of the century. 
“It was truly a powerhouse,” said Marc Levinson, an independent historian and the author of “The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America.” “In those days, independent grocers were every bit as afraid of A&P as mom-and-pop retailers are today of Walmart.” 
In 1912, A&P opened its first discount store in Jersey City. The idea of a retailer focused on low-cost groceries was novel at the time, and a reputation for rock-bottom prices helped the company flourish.

And then there's Sears' downfall.

Sears, the Original Everything Store, Files for Bankruptcy.  (The New York Times, 10/14/2018)
Founded shortly after the Civil War, the original Sears, Roebuck & Company built a catalog business that sold Americans the latest dresses, toys, build-it-yourself houses and even tombstones. In their heyday, the company’s stores, which began to spread across the country in the early 20th century, were showcases for must-have washing machines, snow tires and furniture. 
More recently, Sears became known for another distinction — Mr. Lampert’s audacious feats of financial engineering. He has spun numerous assets off from the retailer into separate companies that his hedge fund invests in. As many of these spinoffs flourished, Sears slid toward insolvency.

No comments: