Lehman Brothers Collection - Contemporary Business Archives

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Lehman Brothers Collection

Twentieth-Century Business Archives

Cluett, Peabody & Co., Inc. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Cluett, Peabody & Co., Inc.

List of Deals

The history of Cluett Peabody & Company dates to 1901 when it was organized to acquire Maullin & Blanchard, a business that had been created in 1851. In February 1913 Cluett Peabody merged with Apex Collar & Shirt Company, which was organized in New York in 1912.

In 1918 Cluett Peabody & Company of Canada, Ltd., was formed.

Prior to 1919, the principal business for Cluett Peabody was manufacturing men's shirt collars. However, beginning in the 1920s the demand for collar-attached shirts grew considerably, while the collar business experienced a decline. In 1929 Cluett Peabody established a national menswear business under the Arrow brand name. The "Arrow" name gradually grew into a product line that included shirts, collars, handkerchiefs, cravats, pajamas, and underwear for men and boys.

In 1933 the company acquired the Wrigley-Melville patents for compressive shrinking of textiles. By 1935 Cluett Peabody operated eleven plants, mostly in the Northeast. In 1945 sales for Cluett Peabody were $31.3 million, and by 1955 sales had nearly tripled, to $87.4 million.

In October 1955 Cluett Peabody acquired J. Schoeneman, Inc., a leading manufacturer of men's clothing. The purchased was partially financed by a $6 million loan.

Cluett Peabody and West Virginia Pulp & Paper Company jointly formed Clupak, Inc., a holder of domestic and foreign patents for the manufacture of stretchable paper, in January 1958. Also in 1958, a subsidiary in the UK was established, Cluett, Peabody & Company, Ltd. In 1959 Cluett Peabody introduced a set of uniform standards for wash & wear fabrics under the trade name "Sanforized-Plus." These standards covered how well clothing recovered after washing in terms of tear strength and smoothness.

Cluett Peabody acquired two retail companies in February 1961: Boyd-Richardson Company, of St. Louis, for 32,000 common shares, and Harry Coffee Stores, of Fresno, California, for $740,000. The company purchased 50.9 percent of Lytton's in May 1961, which was subsequently increased to 99.6 percent by December 1964. In September 1961 Cluett Peabody acquired Besse-Richey.

In March 1962 Cluett Peabody formed the Arrow Company division to manufacture, merchandise, and advertise Arrow products throughout the world.

During 1962 Cluett Peabody made several acquisitions. In March it acquired assets of Young-Quinlan Rothschild, Inc., operators of retail apparel stores in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. In April it bought Jones, Morgan & Company, a clothing store in Waterbury, Connecticut. In May it acquired Lion Clothing Company of San Diego, California. In October the company purchased Meigs & Company, a Bridgeport, Connecticut, clothing store, and in November it added Rogers Peet Company, operators of clothing stores in New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut.

In March 1963 Cluett Peabody acquired Desmond's, Inc., an operator of retail apparel stores in Los Angeles.

In 1964 sales and net earnings for Cluett Peabody were $229.3 million and $8.5 million, respectively. The acquisitions made in recent years helped Cluett grow considerably. In 1958, by comparison, sales and net income were $99.1 million and $2.8 million, respectively.

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