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- Keeping a department-store chain afloat can be tricky.
- Dozens of regional and national chains have collapsed over the years, even before the retail apocalypse got started.
- Check out these companies that have succumbed to changing tastes, the advent of shopping malls, poor business practices, and tough luck.
Retail can be a merciless business.
Take department stores, for instance. A quick scan of any list of defunct department-store chains reveals that it’s a business that doesn’t take kindly to mistakes — or even just plain old bad luck.
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The retail apocalypse began roughly around 2008, around the time the recession kicked off. But the history of retail is littered with department-store chains that sunk long before that.
Here’s a list of department store chains that went under — or fell into an irreversible decline — before the retail apocalypse began raging:
Marshall Field’s survived the Great Chicago Fire and the Great Depression, but the Chicago-based department-store chain couldn’t survive Macy’s. The May Department Stores Company acquired the stores from Target in 2000. Then, five years later, Macy’s acquired May and its assets. The remaining Marshall Field’s stores, including the famed flagship store in downtown Chicago, were controversially rebranded as Macy’s stores.
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Source: Chicago Tribune
Department store chain E. J. Korvette was a harbinger of future discount-oriented chains like Walmart. Despite its success in the years after WWII, it overstretched itself and closed permanently in 1980.
John J. Meola / Wikimedia Commons
Jordan Marsh was a dominant New England retailer with roots dating back to 1841. Jordan Marsh was acquired several times before Macy’s bought up the stores and retired the brand in 1996.
Kim Bhasin / Business Insider
Source: The New York Times
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