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Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Bond Stores, Inc. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Bond Stores, Inc.

List of Deals

The history of Bond Stores dates to 1914 when Mortimer Slater founded the stores as a retail outlet with Charles Bond and Lester Cohen. The first store was that of Mr. Bond in Cleveland and featured fifteen-dollar men's suits. As president Mr. Slater built the concern into a million-dollar corporation, increasing the number of employees from fifty to more than 4,000. At his retirement in 1924, the concern had twenty-eight stores in large cities.

Bond Stores was organized in Maryland on March 19, 1937 by the consolidation of Bond Clothing Company, a Maryland corporation, and its subsidiary, Bond Stores, Incorporated. The principal executive offices of the corporation were located at 261 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York.

The corporation's business consisted primarily of the retail sale of men's and ladies' ready-to-wear clothing, and also sold at retail men's haberdashery, furnishings, hats, and shoes. In 1944, the corporation operated 59 retail stores located in 48 cities in 19 states and the District of Columbia. The men's ready-to-wear clothing was sold in all of the stores. The corporation manufactured all of its men's clothing in its own plants.

During the five-year period from about 1939 to 1944, the general character of the business did not greatly change. The war, however, resulted in the discontinuance of certain lines of merchandise, the addition of other lines of merchandise, changes in the methods of doing business, and changes in the credit arrangements under which the corporation's retail business was formerly conducted. As the number of men in uniform mounted by the million, and the prospective size of the Army and Navy gained by even more impressive leaps and bounds, the civilian haberdasher faced a customer shortage. To make matters worse, men's fashions change slowly, and men tend to wear what they have for long periods of time. As a result, men's clothing stores began to engage in selling women's apparel and one of the most important changes to occur in the corporation's business was the addition of a ladies' line of ready-to-wear suits and coats in the latter part of 1942. Introduced in a limited number of stores only, the sale of ladies' clothes met with such immediate success that ladies' departments were opened in additional stores, and by 1944 such departments were operated in all but two stores.

During and subsequent to 1942, the corporation entered into agreements with the U. S. government for the manufacture of trousers, service coats, and overcoats for the Army.

Retail sales were made for cash or credit. Credit sales were made under what were termed "Budget Service" or "Extended Charge Accounts" plans. The Budget Service was begun in 1928 as the "Ten-Payment Plan." Under this plan the customer made an initial payment of five dollars at the time of purchase, the store credit manager having discretionary power to reduce or eliminate the initial payment where credit had been established on a satisfactory basis. The balance was paid within ten weeks. Extended Charge Account plans, introduced in 1938, had the customer pay one-third of the purchase price on the tenth day of the month following the purchase, and one-third on the tenth day of the second and third months following the date of the purchase; no initial payment was required on this plan. On May 6, 1942, these credit plans were revised to conform to government regulations as to credit. The corporation sought to restore them to their original bases should such restrictions ever be removed.

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