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Retail Trends

Retail Timeline

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1911
A group of department store operators form the National Retail Dry Goods Association and stage its first annual meeting. Lew Hahn serves as NRDGA’s principal executive until 1928, when he launches what would become Allied Stores.

1912
Isidor Straus, co-owner (with brother Nathan) of R.H. Macy & Co., is among the 1,517 people who lose their lives when the Titanic sinks in the North Atlantic on its maiden voyage.

1914
J.P. Morgan assists in the formation of two store groups, American Dry Goods (later Associated Dry Goods) and Mercantile Stores Company, from the bankruptcy of the H.B. Claflin & Co. and the reorganization of Siegel Cooper & Co.

1924
With an addition on Seventh Avenue, Macy’s Herald Square becomes the largest store in the world. The company also holds its first Thanksgiving Day Parade, which attracts 10,000 onlookers.

1925
Sears Roebuck & Co. opens its first store on Chicago’s west side.

1929
Federated Department Stores is founded as a holding company.

1937
Sylvan N. Goldman introduces his invention, the shopping cart, at his Humpty Dumpty supermarket in Oklahoma City.

1941
Congress establishes Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday of November. Federated’s Fred Lazarus Jr. persuades President Roosevelt that moving the date — and thus extending the Christmas shopping season — would be good for the nation’s businesses.

1948
McDonald Brothers introduce the Speedee Service System (assembly line efficiency) in San Bernardino, Calif., to sell hamburgers, fries, shakes, sodas and apple pies.

1950
Northgate Shopping Center, the first open-air pedestrian mall, opens in Seattle.

1956
Southdale Shopping Center, the first fully enclosed, two-level regional mall, opens in Edina, Minn.

1958
NRDGA renamed National Retail Merchants Association (NRMA).

1962
First Wal-Mart (Rogers, Ark.) , Target (Roseville, Minn.) and Kohl’s Department Store Brookfield, Wis.) open.

1963
First Limited store opens in Columbus, Ohio.

1966
“Black Friday” enters the retail lexicon.

1971
First Starbucks opens in Seattle’s Pike Place Market.

1974
First UPC scanner installed in a Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio. The first product to include a bar code: a pack of Wrigley’s gum.

1979
The Home Depot’s first store opens in Atlanta, Ga.

1985
Home Shopping Network debuts, followed a year later by QVC.

1990
NRMA and American Retail Federation merge to form the National Retail Federation. NRF is chaired by William R. Howell, chairman and CEO of J.C. Penney; John J. (Jack) Schultz is president. Wal-Mart tops U.S. retailers in sales.

1992 Mall of America, the country’s largest mall (4.2 million sq. ft.), opens in Bloomington, Minn.

1993
Sears ceases publication of its “Big Book” catalog.

1995
Amazon.com and eBay debut.

1997
Woolworth Corp. closes all its general merchandise stores; Montgomery Ward declares bankruptcy.

2001
Apple opens its first store in Tysons Corner, Va.

2005
Federated Department Stores agrees to acquire The May Department Stores Company for $11 billion in stock; new company is renamed Macy’s.

2011 
NRF and its annual convention, Retail’s BIG Show, celebrate their 100th anniversaries.

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