Half a century of discount retailing

Although I consider discount chain-store retailing the source of much fashion and corporate evil, it can’t be ignored that those types of retailers have changed how we shop today. Surprisingly, most of them were founded, created, or reorganized fifty years ago in 1962.

Sam Walton opened his first Walmart Discount City store in Rogers, Arkansas (the first Wal-marts came to Canada in 1994) and the first Target store opened in Roseville Minnesota (the first Target stores in Canada are scheduled to open next year), and Meijer, a smaller regional chain opened its first modern format store in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Created by established retailers, K-mart was the child of parent company Kresge’s, and nearly went broke in 2002, but has since merged with Sears and become a strong third place in the discount retailer battle for supremacy. The now defunct Woolco was created by parent company Woolworth’s and went out of business in the U.S. in 1983 but remained open in Canada until 1994 when Wal-mart purchased its remaining stores to gain entry into the Canadian market. Wal-mart closed some Woolco locations but reopened others as Wal-marts.

About Jonathan

Jonathan Walford is a fashion historian and co-founder of the Fashion History Museum in Cambridge, Ontario. The FHM maintains a collection of nearly 12,000 artifacts dating from the mid 17th century to the present. Jonathan has authored various books and museum catalogues, including The Seductive Shoe, Shoes A-Z, Forties Fashion, 1950s American Fashion, and Sixties Fashion.
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