Montgomery Ward to Close After 128 Years

Share this article:
Montgomery Ward, one of the first general-merchandise catalog companies, yesterday said it would cease operations citing weak holiday sales.

Founded as a catalog company in 1872, it filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the Federal Bankruptcy Court for the district of Delaware. The company originally filed for bankruptcy in 1997.

"Today's [Dec. 28] filing comes after an exhaustive exploration of options for continuing the business," said Roger Goddu, chairman/CEO of Montgomery Ward, Chicago. "Overall weak holiday sales and a very difficult retail environment simply did not permit us to complete the turnaround that might have been possible in an otherwise thriving economy."

The company yesterday said it would suspend further unpaid vendor deliveries and eliminate 450 national office jobs. Montgomery Ward will close 250 stores and 10 distribution centers over the next several months.

The company, which is a fully owned subsidiary of General Electric Co.'s GE Capital, employs 37,000 people nationwide.

The retailer opened its first free-standing store in 1926.

Montgomery Ward merged with Container Corp. of America to form Marcor Inc., which was acquired by Mobil Oil Corp. in 1976.

The company ended its catalog operations in 1985 and launched a specialty store strategy that included Electric Avenue and Auto Express. Three years later, senior Montgomery Ward management completed a $3.8 billion leveraged buyout of the company.

GE Capital took ownership in August 1999.
Share this article:

Next Article in Multichannel Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in Multichannel Marketing

Generating Loyalty for Brands and Retailers in an Omnichannel World

Generating Loyalty for Brands and Retailers in an ...

Harnessing personas, loyalty programs, and new technologies can help marketers better connect with customers.

News Byte: Salesforce Forms Unit to Focus on Verticals

News Byte: Salesforce Forms Unit to Focus on ...

The industries business unit, led by ex-White House CIO Vivek Kundra, will serve six industry groupings.

Columbia U. Puts the "Do" in "Donation"

Columbia U. Puts the "Do" in "Donation"

Columbia University raises nearly $7 million in donations in just 24 hours with a combination of social media, live events, and gamification.