Federated Department Stores

From Ohio History Central

F. & R. Lazarus Company First Floor Clock.jpg
Wide shot of the first floor clock, The F. & R. Lazarus

Company, 1926.

In 1929, several department stores combined to form Federated Department Stores. The new company's headquarters were located in Columbus, Ohio. The original businesses that were part of Federated Department Stores included Shillito's, founded in Cincinnati in 1830; Lazarus & Company, founded in Columbus in 1851; Abraham & Strauss, originally known as Wechsler and Abraham and founded in Brooklyn, New York, in 1865; Filene's, originally founded in Boston; and Bloomingdales, which joined the company in 1930. The 1930s were a difficult time for American businesses, as the United States was in the midst of the Great Depression. To improve sales and make its merchandise more accessible for customers, Federated Department Stores began offering credit to its shoppers in 1939.

Fred Lazarus became the company's president in 1945, and the headquarters moved from Columbus to Cincinnati. Over the next few decades, Federated Department Stores continued to expand. Numerous acquisitions occurred, including Foley's of Houston, Stern Brothers of New Jersey, Burdines of Miami, Florida, Rike's of Dayton, Ohio, Goldsmith's of Memphis, Tennessee, Bullock's of Los Angeles, I. Magnin of San Francisco, and Rich's of Atlanta. Federated Department Stores became one of the top ten largest retail firms in the United States during this era.

In 1988, Federated Department Stores went through some major changes. Campeau Corporation took over the company and sold some of its divisions to other retail firms. Federated faced serious debt problems related to the Campeau takeover, and the company was forced to file for bankruptcy in 1990. After some reorganizing, Federated Department Stores reemerged from bankruptcy in 1992, officially known as Federated Department Stores, Inc. The company acquired Macy's, which had filed for bankruptcy, in 1994. This merger created the largest retail corporation in the United States. After the merger, Federated began renaming some of its other stores Macy's as well, further consolidating divisions within the company and capitalizing on the famous Macy's name. Federated Department Stores has recovered from its financial problems of the early 1990s, and itcontinues to serve as the largest retail business in the nation today.

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