Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Dayton-Hudson Corporation - Lehman Brothers Collection

Dayton-Hudson Corporation

List of Deals

The Dayton Hudson Corporation was founded by George Draper Dayton. Dayton purchased a lot of land next to his church, on which he erected a six-story building that would eventually house his first store. Dayton bought the land as a charitable gesture, as the church required the income from this sale to rebuild after it burned down in a fire. In 1902 Dayton purchased Goodfellow Dry Goods store to occupy his new building. The store was renamed the Dayton Dry Goods store, then the Dayton Company.

The company prospered, and by the 1920s it had become a multi-million dollar business. In 1929 Dayton purchased J.B. Hudson & Son, Minneapolis jewelers. The company survived the Depression and thrived during World War II. Sales volume during the war increased, as consumer goods were so scare that it was not necessary to persuade shoppers to buy available merchandise. In 1944 the company became one of the first stores in the nation to offer to its workers a retirement policy, and in 1950 Dayton offered them a comprehensive insurance policy.

In 1956 Dayton decided to build a mall outside of Minneapolis. The mall was built under cover, as Minneapolis had only 113 good shopping days a year, and became the first enclosed shopping mall in history. Dayton continued to expand and succeed. In 1962 it established Target, a large discount chain. In 1966 the company established B. Dalton bookstores. In 1967 the company, then known as Dayton Corporation, made its initial public stock offering. That same year the company acquired Shreve and Company, which merged with J.B. Hudson to form Dayton Jewelers. In 1968 the company bought the Pickwick Book Shops and merged them with B. Dalton. That year, the company also acquired department stores in Oregon and Arizona, and the following year bought J.E. Caldwell jewelry stores and Lechmere, a Boston retailer.

Dayton acquired J.L. Hudson Company in 1969. This merger resulted in Dayton Hudson Corporation, the fourteenth-largest retailer in the United States. J.L. Hudson was founded in 1881 by Joseph Hudson. Ten years later, the company was the largest retailer of men's clothes in the United States. Among Hudson's innovations were price marking (instead of bargaining) and offering return privileges.

In 1970 Dayton Hudson bought two more jewelers, C.D. Peacock, Inc., and J. Jessop and Sons. By 1971 the company's revenues surpassed $1 billion.

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