Retail Stores Handling Boys' Clothing: M-Q

Figure 1.--Quelle is one of the most important European mail order company. This page is from their 1996 catalog showing popular casual styles.

HBC has developed information on the following department stores, clothing retailers, and mail order companies. We are just beginning to gather information on the individual stores. HBC would be interested in reader comments about the stores in their countries. We are interested in childhood memories as well as the current status of the stores.

Macy's (United States)

Macy's is another of the most fabled American department stores. Not only because its current and past success, but because of the classic Americam folm--Miracle on 34th Street. America's most renowned and certainly tallest shopping mile is located in New York. The area spans 25 blocks, anchored at one end by Macy's on Herald Square and at the other by Bloomingdale's on 59th Street, span five avenues west to east and include the country's most renowned concentration of grand, historic department stores. Actually ahalf-dozen of these great American stores survive. They are now widely spaced between hundreds of specialty stores on and off Fifth Avenue. Macy's in 2000 operated Macy's stores along the U.S. East coast alone. It's mamouth New York flagship store fills an entire city. It claims to be the "world's largest store" and probably is. It was founded by Nantucket Quaker Rowland Hussey as a dry goods store in 1858. The owner proclaimed it a full-fledged department store in 1877, at which time it filled a dozen buildings on 14th Street. The New York Macy's now prides itself on its 50 display windows. The six facing Herald Square depict the history of the store's famous Thanksgiving parade. This New York City tradition was extravaganza was inagurted to commemorate the store's 75th anniversary. The windows along 34th Street show scenes from Miracle on 34th Street, the 1947 film classic in which Edmund Gwenn convinces a sceptical city and little girl played by Natalie Wood, that he is Santa. In the film, Gween plays an all too honest department store Santa who reall listens to the children's requests and advises parents to shop for some of them them at, horrors upon horrors--rival Gimbels. The Macy's Santa still presides at the 8th-floor SantaLand, a tranported Alpine village with plenty of twinkling lights, fake snow, hugh lollipops, cuddly bears, and the requisite massive candy canes. Most Macy's and other department stores no longer have their own Santa, but rather Santa is set up in a centralized location in each shopping mall. The former extensive New York Macy's toy department, however, along with the entire Gimbels store are now a part of New York retail history. Macy's in the 1970s as it spread around America really gave up any pretence of being a full-line department store, dropping toys along with furniture and hardware. Actually toy stores have since evolved into mini-department stores.

Marshall Fields (United States)

The Marshal Fields Department Store in Chicago was named after its founder Marshall Fields (1834-1906). He was one of the great American merchant princes who in his later life became a noted philanthropist. He was a real life Horatio Alger growing up from humble origins. He was born near Conway, Massachusetts. He grew up on a farm. As a youing may he went west just before the Civil War (1856). Rather than finding land for farming, he went to the rising mid-Western metroplis--Chicago. He opened a dry goods store. He was a shy man which his first empoyee thought was not the best dispositiion to become a successful retailer. He formed a firm with associates--Field, Palmer, and Leiter. He had bouught them out by 1882, changing the name of the firm to Marshall Fields. He managed to survive the financil panic of 1873 and the Great Chicago Fire. Chicago grew into the greates city of the Mid West, becoming a central railroad hub. Fields and other Chicago businesses bebefitted by the growth of Chicasgo. Rther than meerly becoming a retailer, Field actually began manufacturing merchasndise sold in his store. He opened manufacturing operations both in America and around the world (including Spain, Germany, Italy, Australia, and China). Field would not here of credit and instituted a strict cash only system.

(John) Martins (Australia)

John Martins was the big major department store mostly in Adelaide, but all over Australia until David Jones acquired it in the late 1980s and stripped it of the famous John Martin's Christmas Parade'(around since 1933). They changed the sihns on all of the stores in 1999. The beautiful old world six story building was totally torn down in 1995 or there abouts and replaced with a newer modern "Dogbox' building which is David Jones and sells exclusive boys and other family fashions for women, girls, and men just as John Martins did. An Australian reader believes that "Johnnies" did it better with good old fashion mano y mano personalized service".

May Department Stores (United States)

The May Department Stores in 2000 was the parent company operating over 400 department stores under a variety of names (Hects, Lord & Taylor, and others).

Monoprix (France)

Monoprix has branches all over Paris. It is hard to avoid them. It is primarily a supermaket. The larger stores have entire fashion floors, as well as house and kitchen accessories.

MYCAL Corporation

Marks and Spencer p.l.c. (United Kingdom)

Marks & Spencer is one of the UK's leading retailers of clothing, foods, homeware and financial services. Serving 10 million customers a week in over 300 UK stores, the Company also trades in 38 countries worldwide, and has a Group turnover in excess of £8 billion. Michael Marks, a Russian born Polish refugee, in 1884 opened a stall at Leeds Kirkgate Market. Marks formed a partnership with Tom Spencer, a former cashier, in 1894. The St Michael trademark, Marks and Spencers store brand was registered in 1928. The company's flagship store was opened at Marble Arch, London. The company introduced Café Bars in many stores during the 1930s. These bars provided cheap, hygienic and nutritious mass catering which was a valuable resource during World War II, making efficient use of scarce food. The advent of the War and the Utility Clothing Scheme in 1939 meant that there were strict specifications on the use of materials and trimmings for all clothing. A Marks and Spencers scientist was seconded to help develop the scheme to produce a range of quality garments throughout the period of restriction. The first self-service trial was held after World War II in 1948 at the store in Wood Green, London and was very successful. The first stores in Continental Europe opened during 1975 in Boulevard Haussman, Paris and Brussels, Belgium. Marks and Spensers acquired Brooks Brothers, an American clothing company, in 1988. The company in 1999 opened a website. Marks and Spencers school uniform department in 2001 stocked traditional school short trousers for boys aged 14 years and 5'6" tall.

Marui Co., Ltd. (Japan)

Matsuzakaya Co., Ltd. (Japan)

The modern store is a relatively modern development. Few stores can date their foundation before the mid 19th century. Matsuzakaya in Japan, however, claims its foundation amazingly to 1611. The company operates 12 department stores in central Japan, including its flagship outlet in Nagoya. There is one store in Paris, but Matsuzakaya has closed its store in Los Angeles. Matsuzakaya reports that most of its sales from its department stores, which sell clothes, food, household items, and personal goods. It is also involved in furniture making, restaurants, supermarkets, and wholesale textiles. Japan's economic problems have forced the company to begin downsizing, but it now faces competition from foreign cometitors as Japan increasingly opens its once strictly protected domestic market.

(The) May Department Stores Company (United States)

The Hecht Department store chain is one of the May Company's several sibsidiaries.

Mervyn's California

Mitsukoshi, Ltd. (Japan)

Montgomery Ward (United States)

Although the word "consumerism" has a modern ring, it was personal concern for an early consumer movement, the "National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry," That inspired a young traveling salesman named Aaron Montgomery Ward to start the world's first general merchandise mail-order company in 1872. Aaron Montgomery Ward was born on February 17, 1844, in Chatham, New Jersey, to a family whose forebears had served as officers in the French and Indian Wars as well as in the American Revolution. Looking for something more compatible, Monty left home and followed the river to Lake Michigan and the town of St. Joseph, county seat and market for outlying fruit orchards. Chicago was the center of the wholesale dry goods trade and in the 1860s Ward joined the leading dry goods house, Field Palmer & Leiter. As a retailer, Potter Palmer had previously built a reputation for fair dealing. Ward absorbed these principles while working as a clerk for $5. The Chicago City Directories for 1868 through 1870 listed Ward as a salesman for Wills, Greg & Co. and later for Stetthauers & Wineman, both dry goods houses. In 1870, after canvassing territory in Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Ward was again footloose. The plan shaping in Ward's mind was to buy goods at low cost for cash. By eliminating intermediaries, with their markups and commissions, and cutting selling costs to the bone, he could offer goods to people, however remote, at appealing prices - for cash. Since its founding in 1872, the company has literally "grown up with America" and has had a major impact on the shopping habits of a nation of consumers. Montgomery Ward & Co. discontinued its catalog operations in 1985 as part of its restructuring effort to change itself into a modern, competitive chain of value-driven specialty stores, a move which for a time saved the company. week.

National Cloak and Suit Company (United States)

The National Cloak and Suit company is not a firm we know much about. All we know at this time is that it was located in New York. It appears to be a substantial company. We notice the company advertising in the February 1903 issue of the Delineator. We notice a catalog offering wommen's clothes ("My Lady's Wardrobe") for Spring-Summer 1904. The first catalog we notice offering a full range of clothing is from 1909, but there may have been earlier ones. The 1912 catalog contains a wide range of merchandise. We do not know when the company was founded, but the use of "cloak" in the company name suggests an older company. We also do not know when company closed. We do note a 1920 catalog with very stylish women's clothes. As far as we know, it was purely a catalog company.

(The) Neiman Marcus Group, Inc. (United States)

Nordstrom, Inc. (United States)

Paterson, Laing & Bruce Ltd. (Australia)

HBC has only limited information on Paterson, Laing & Bruce. They had a store in Sydney (Wynyard Street) and we believe a Melbourne store in the 1939s. They carried an extensive selectin of boys' clothing all in their youth department.

Paisley's (Scotland)

We have not yet been able to find much information about Paisley's. We believe it was a Scottish departmenbt stores. It was founded by Arnott Paisley in the middle of the Depression, we think in 1931. This was the same time that Mark's & Spencer's also opened a store in the town. Paisley is a town that in the 20th century became a part ofthe Glasgow metropolitan area. We do not know much about the store or if there were any branch stores, but the appear to have opened a store in the Glasgow city cednter. We know they had a line of Scottish goods like tweeds and kilts. The store is now closed, but we do not know just when. Hopefully our Scottish readers will know more.

Peebles Inc.

Peek & Cloppenburg (the Netherlands)

Peek & Cloppenburg was founded by Johann Theodor Peek and Heinrich Cloppenburg in 1869 in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Peek & Cloppenburg were German cloth manufacturers. There were in early 2000 are 100 stores in the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Austria.

JC Penney

JC Penney was founded by James Cash Penney. He called his first stores Golden Rule Store. He opened the first one in 1902. It was located in Kemmerer, Wyoming. The company grew to be one of the most important retailer in America. Penny had a major impact on American retailing. Merchants in the19th century did not commonly stand behind their merchandise. Penney called his store, the Golden Rule Store to emphasize his approach to retailing. He offered innovations such as money-back returns, standardized pricing, high quality merchandise, and friendly customer service. These were approached that were not very common at the time. Penney began with stores, but eventually began catalog sales, competing with Montgomery Ward and Sears. Penny now offers American consumers three different shopping channels (stores, catalogs, and internet channels). JC Penney in 2003 operated 1,050 JCPenney department stores in all the U.S. states (except Hawaii) and in Puerto Rico. In addition Penney operates 50 Renner department stores in Brazil. JCPenney stores sell fashion at value prices. The company targets consumers in the middle of the American population (household incomes of $30,000 to $80,000 a year). Sales totaled $15 billion in 2003. JCPenney department stores are primarily situated in regional malls which is where most Americans now shop for clothing. JC Penney is also America’s largest direct merchant of general merchandise. Its catalog-ordering network is the largest in the United States, handling 35 million telephone calls a year. Direct’s four state-of-the-art logistics centers process more than 33 million orders a year. JC Penney Direct publishes and distributes 384 million catalogs annually. They include 94 catalog titles serving distinct consumer groups. Catalog sales (including Internet sales) totaled $2.6 billion in 2003. The company publishes 94 catalog titles each year, including the Fall/Winter big book. JC Penny added a new channel in 1998-- The JC Penney Internet store is one of the largest apparel and home furnishings retail sites on the Internet. The site has the highest rate (10 percent) of converting site visitors into buyers. It has grown from annual sales of $15 million in 1998 to more than $600 million in 2003. The Company anticipates that the online store will top $1 billion in sales in the next few years.


(Le) Printemps (France)

Au Printemps is a Paris deparment store. We know very little about the store at this time. We know that it was operating in 1924, but do not know just when it was founded. The large newspaper ad suggests that it was an important store. It is still an important Paris department store. Printemps holds fashion shows in an auditorium that seats 300 people. Along with Galeries Lafayette, Printemps is the other huge Paris department stores, with three buildings devoted to the home, to menswear and to women's fashion. The women's store boasts the largest accessories department in Paris and a huge range of labels. Fash-pack luxury labels fill floor 1, Miss Code on floor 5 is aimed at teenagers. After a two-year face lift, the men's store is as good looking as some of its customers; the Paul Smith-designed World Bar is on floor 5.

(El) Puerto de Liverpool, S. A. de C. V. (Mexico)

The unlikely name for this Mexican department store was derived from the English port that once supplied most of their imported goods. El Puerto de Liverpool now offers clothing for men, women, and children, and home furnishings. There are about 40 major department stores carrying the Liverpool and Fábricas de Francia names in Mexico's largest cities. The company's upper-income customer base remains essentially unchanged from 1847, when young Juan Bautista Ebrard began selling clothes from a simple Mexico City market stall. Liverpool also owns and manages malls in Mexico. The company has expanded by buying malls and opening new stores throughout Mexico.


The German mail order house Quelle Versandhaus was established in 1927. Quelle, is a German mail order company located in in Fuerth, Bavaria (where Henry Kissinger was born). I don't aware if Quelle was involved in export sales before World War II (1939-45). My guess it thar Quelle in the 1930s was primarily focused on the domestic market. This changed after the War and a considerable interest was palced on export maketing as well as foreign sourcing. A HBC reader reports that Quelle continues to be a very important mail order company. It also operates in France. A French reader reports that, "the articles sold in Germany are practically the same found in France. One of the older manufacturer is located in Orléan, France". There apparently were several different editions of theQuelle catalog. A French reader, for example, tells us that the catalog for French Guiana (also used in Guadeloupe and Martinique) didn'y have winter articles. Quelle still exsits and is quite an important one. Quelle in 1995 opened what they claimed was the world's most modern mail order house in Leipzig. Quelle incorporated as Quelle AG in 1997. Karstadt and Quelle merged in 1999 to form KarstadtQuelle AG.


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Created: November 7, 2001
Last updated: 9:15 PM 8/27/2010