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Lucky Stores, Inc. - Lehman Brothers Collection

Lucky Stores, Inc.

List of Deals

Lucky Stores, Inc., began in 1931 when Charles Crouch bought a small chain of grocery stores in San Francisco with four other investors. The six stores were originally named Peninsula Stores, Ltd. The company soon began to open additional stores in the East Bay area of San Francisco; the new stores were even more successful than their predecessors. Crouch soon began referring to these new stores as his "lucky stores," and thus the company eventually underwent a name change. In 1935 the identification "Lucky" first appeared on the outside of the company's store in Berkeley, California. The chain has been known as Lucky Stores, Inc., ever since.

In 1947 Lucky decided to expand its scope. At that time, the company decided to open a larger version of itself—a true "supermarket"—the first of its kind west of the Mississippi River. That year, the Wall Street Journal named the company the "store of the year," citing its innovations as being years ahead of its time. By the early 1950s the Lucky chain was composed of more than forty store locations. At that time, Lucky decided to expand to other markets throughout California. By 1956 the company had purchased and converted forty-eight stores from other companies throughout the state. The Lucky purchases included ten Jim Dandy stores in the Los Angeles metro market, six Food Basket stores in the San Diego area, and thirty-two Cardinal stores in the Sacramento area. These acquisitions gave the company firmer footing in the California grocery store market. That year, Lucky achieved more than $100 million in annual sales for the first time in the company's history.

Lucky operated 117 stores in the states of California and Washington by 1959. That year, the company began building "discount centers"—larger versions of its supermarkets offering everything from food and household grocery items to pharmacy services, liquor, and apparel. The year 1960 marked the beginning of Lucky's foray into the areas of general merchandise retailing, membership department stores, automotive retailing, and fabric retailing units. The company expanded its scope through the purchase of a membership department store in southern California. Soon, Lucky's Gemco and Memco membership department stores began appearing throughout the western states of California, Arizona, and Texas, as well as in the eastern and midwestern states of Maryland, Virginia, and Illinois.

Within the next decade, Lucky had advanced to the point that it could expand its supermarket chain on a national level. In 1968 the company negotiated a deal with the Eagle store chain and the May's drug store chain in Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Also purchased in 1968 was Tanne-Arden, Inc., which operated multiple retail apparel stores. Another area in which Lucky diversified its holdings was in the development of manufacturing facilities. Such activity led to Lucky's involvement in the L & G sporting goods chain in southern California, Harvest Day bakeries, Lady Lee milk-processing plants, and various meat-processing plants.

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