Store Profiles: Filene's
There's one last store to cover, and you've probably heard of this one.
William Filene's Sons & Company was founded in 1881 in Boston, Massachusetts, Filene himself had previously run a small shop in Salem which was founded in 1852.
While Filene's legendary store in Boston opened in 1912, one of the most legendary elements of the store was the "Automatic Bargain Basement", which Edward Filene opened in 1909. By providing adequate lighting, a clear markdown schedule, and selling more than the upstairs' leftovers, Filene's Basement became a huge success.
Filene's became one of the earliest members of Federated Department Stores when the company was founded in 1929. However, in 1988, when Campeau bought out Federated, Filene's and sister division Foley's from Houston were sold to May Department Stores. With the sale of Filene's to May, Filene's Basement went a separate way; today, it is part of Retail Ventures.
With Filene's under May ownership, May merged their Hartford-based G. Fox & Company chain into Filene's, both operationally and in name. With the May ownership also came a great influx of cash, which was used to construct new stores and expand and remodel existing ones; this helped push Filene's far ahead of it's local competition in Jordan Marsh. In 2002, Filene's assumed control of the Kaufmann's stores in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia.
The merger of May and Federated led for the closure of either the existing Macy's store that was once the Jordan Marsh flagship, or the Filene's flagship. Federated chose to use the existing Macy's store, and sold the Filene's flagship to New York-based Vornado Realty Trust, with plans to install retail and possibly offices and a hotel in the building. In it's final months, the Filene's flagship served to sell discounted and slow-selling merchandise from not only Filene's stores but also the Macy's next door.
Filene's: 1881 to September 9, 2006 at 9:30am EST.
And that wraps it up. Nearly 150 years of retail history in 11 markets will all merge into one, meaningless, thinks-it's-cool-and-hip-because-it's-from-New-York-but-when-you-have-800-stores-there's-no-way-that-you-can-maintain-prestige, bland, rednecks-love-it, New York department store known to the entire country tomorrow morning as Macy's.