Woolworth Co.


Woolworth Co.
U.S. merchandising company.

F.W. Woolworth (1852–1919) founded his first "five-and ten-cent" store in 1879. By 1904 there were 120 stores in 21 states. The company's New York headquarters, the Woolworth building (1913), was once the world's tallest skyscraper. By 1929 Woolworth had about 2,250 outlets. Its stores continued to proliferate in the U.S. and Britain, and it acquired other chains dealing in sportswear, shoes, and children's wear. From 1992 it began closing hundreds of stores and selling off subsidiaries; in 1998 it changed its name to Venator Group, Inc., and announced its intention to focus on sporting goods. In 2001 the company name changed to Foot Locker, Inc.

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▪ American company
in full  F.W. Woolworth Co. 

      American company that developed a large chain of general-merchandise retail stores based on the concept of the five-and-ten (i.e., a store that sells all items in stock for 10 cents or less). Woolworth evolved into a multinational corporation with a large collection of specialty retail stores on four continents. Its headquarters are in the Woolworth Building in New York City. The company was founded by Frank Winfield Woolworth (1852–1919), the originator of the five-and-ten variety store. Renamed Venator Group, Inc., in 1998, the company operated retail stores in 14 countries in North America, Europe, and Australia by the start of the 21st century.

      Woolworth founded his first five-cent stores in Utica, New York, and Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1879. The latter store was successful, especially after the price ceiling was raised to 10 cents, and in the next decade Woolworth opened some 21 more stores in towns in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, and Connecticut, the majority of which were financed and managed in partnerships. By the end of 1904 there were 120 stores in 21 states extending westward as far as Colorado. Woolworth founded his success on volume buying, counter-display merchandising, and cash-and-carry transactions.

      In 1905 Woolworth incorporated, as F.W. Woolworth & Co., and in 1909 he founded F.W. Woolworth and Co., Limited, to serve Great Britain and Ireland. Then in 1911 he invited four rival American retail chains to merge their businesses with his and form a single national corporation. The four rival retailers were Seymour Horace Knox (Woolworth's first cousin), with 108 five-and-tens; Fred Morgan Kirby, with 84; Charles Sumner Woolworth (Frank's brother), with 14; and Earle Perry Charlton, with 48. Woolworth's own giant company at the time of the merger had 319 stores. Agreements were signed on November 12, 1911, and the new consolidated company, with 596 stores coast to coast, assumed the F.W. Woolworth Co. name. The new company's headquarters, the Woolworth Building (1913) in New York City, was the tallest skyscraper in the world for a time.

      By 1929 Woolworth had about 2,250 outlets, and its stores continued to proliferate in the United States and Britain. The company raised its price ceiling to 20 cents in 1932 and abolished price limits altogether in 1935. The company purchased the shoe manufacturer and retailer G.R. Kinney Corporation (founded 1894) in 1963 and the Australian shoe store chain Williams the Shoemen in 1969. In 1982 it sold a controlling interest in its British subsidiary.

      Over the years Woolworth acquired other store chains. The company's Foot Locker chain of athletic-shoe retailers proved especially successful. By 1982 the company had more than 8,000 stores worldwide, but it was facing increased competition from the Kmart Corporation and other discount retailers. These pressures compelled Woolworth to rely more and more on its Foot Locker, Kinney Shoes, and other specialty stores. Woolworth closed its remaining variety stores in the United States in 1997, thus abandoning its traditional general-merchandise retail business there.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Woolworth's — Woolworth ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Franklin Winfield Woolworth (1852–1919), Gründer der amerikanischen Kaufhaus und Supermarktkette Woolworth Woolworth, Woolworths oder Woolworth s bezeichnet: die originale F.W. Woolworth Company… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Woolworth's — Woolworth s, Woolworths or Woolworth may refer to one of several companies:The original American F.W. Woolworth Company and related businesses: * F. W. Woolworth Company was the original USA based chain of five and dime stores. ** Foot Locker,… …   Wikipedia

  • Woolworth — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Franklin Winfield Woolworth (1852–1919), Gründer der amerikanischen Kaufhaus und Supermarktkette Woolworth Woolworth, Woolworths oder Woolworth’s bezeichnet: die originale F.W. Woolworth Company von… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Woolworth — s Woolworth s Création 1878 Disparition 1997 (Quand le nom changea en Foot Lo …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Woolworth —   [ wʊlwəːθ], eigentlich F. W. Woolworth Co., amerikanisches Einzelhandelsunternehmen, gegründet 1879 von Frank W. Woolworth (* 1852, ✝ 1919) in Utica (N. Y.) als Geschäft, das nur Waren zu 5 Cent führte (»Einpreisgeschäfte«); Sitz: New York. Die …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Woolworth — Building at 233 Broadway in New York City; chain of stores once called 5 and 10 or five and dime …   Eponyms, nicknames, and geographical games

  • Woolworth — [wool′wərth] F(rank) W(infield) 1852 1919; U.S. merchant …   English World dictionary

  • Woolworth's —  Ne doit pas être confondu avec Woolworths. Woolworth s Création 1878 Disparition 1997 (Quand le nom changea en Foot Locker) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Woolworth’s — (BrE also (infml Woollie’s) a chain of large shops in Britain and other countries, selling a wide variety of goods at low prices. It has branches in many British towns and cities and for many years was Britain’s leading chain of retail shops. The …   Universalium

  • Woolworth — noun United States businessman who opened a shop in 1879 selling low priced goods and built it into a national chain of stores (1852 1919) • Syn: ↑Frank Winfield Woolworth • Instance Hypernyms: ↑businessman, ↑man of affairs …   Useful english dictionary