|Number of locations||46 (2011)|
|Products||Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, housewares|
Carson Pirie Scott & Co., or Carson's, is a chain of department stores that have been in business for over 150 years. Their product price points are targeted to the moderate-to-upscale shopper. The majority of the stores are located in the Chicago metropolitan area, with over 40 stores under the nameplate. Stores are also operated in parts of Indiana including northwest Indiana, Indianapolis, and Fort Wayne (from 2013), along with Michigan.
The Carson Pirie Scott name is strongly associated with the historic Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building designed by Louis Sullivan, built in 1899 for the retail firm Schlesinger & Mayer, and expanded and sold to Carson Pirie Scott in 1904. The building, located on State Street in Chicago's Loop, housed the chain's flagship store for more than a century before closing for good on February 21, 2007.
The chain began in 1854 when Samuel Carson opened a dry goods store in Amboy, Illinois, after he left Ireland. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed 60% of the store's stock. In 1961, Carson Pirie Scott & Co. greatly expanded in Illinois by purchasing the 20 unit Block & Kuhl chain headquartered in Peoria, Illinois.
In 1980, to diversify its business, Carson Pirie Scott & Co. borrowed $108 million to buy Dobbs Houses, Inc., an airline caterer and owner of the Toddle House and Steak 'n Egg Kitchen restaurant chains. These were sold in 1988, as was the County Seat clothing chain.
In 1991, P.A. Bergner & Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; upon emerging from bankruptcy in 1993, it became a NASDAQ publicly traded company, changing its operating name to Carson Pirie Scott & Co. One year later, the company commenced trading on the NYSE under the CRP symbol.
Acquisition by Proffitt's
By 1998, Carson Pirie Scott & Co. ownership was held by Proffitt's, Inc., (later renamed Saks Incorporated to reflect the acquisition of Saks Fifth Avenue). The Carson Pirie Scott, Bergner's, and Boston Store chains, along with Younkers and Herberger's nameplates, eventually operated as Saks' Northern Department Store Group (NDSG), based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In late 2005, however, the group was put up for sale as Saks Incorporated tried to refocus itself primarily on its core Saks Fifth Avenue stores.
Sale to The Bon-Ton
Carson's and its associated stores became part of The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. in a $1.1 billion deal completed on March 6, 2006. The group's base of merchandising and marketing operations remains in Milwaukee.
On August 25, 2006, the CEO of Bon-Ton announced that the landmark Carson Pirie Scott store in downtown Chicago would close after the 2006 holiday season. It will then be redeveloped by the building's owner, who purchased the property in 2001. As part of this redevelopment Target Corp. has announced that it will lease 12,400 square feet (1,150 m2) on two floors. It is expected that part of that space will be used to house a new smaller format urban Target store. The store closed February 21, 2007.
Bon-Ton began converting Elder-Beerman stores in Indiana and Michigan to the newly-shortened Carson's name in 2011 and 2012. The chain expanded into Metro Detroit in 2013 with the conversion of three Parisian stores.
- The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. 2011 Annual Report
- Associated Press | Target to open store in national landmark building | Crain's
- Chicago Business News, Analysis & Articles | Carson Pirie Scott's State Street store to close | Crain's
- Siry, Joseph M. Carson Pirie Scott: Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Department Store. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1988. ISBN 0-226-76136-3
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