G.R. Kinney ca. 1919
|Founded||New York, U.S. 1894|
|Founders||George Romanta Kinney|
|Defunct||September 16, 1998|
|Area served||United States, Puerto Rico|
The G.R. Kinney Company was an American manufacturer and retailer of shoes from 1894 until September 16, 1998. Its listing on the New York Stock Exchange, symbol KNN, began in March 1923. The shoe concern was started by George Romanta Kinney whose father ran a general store in rural Candor, New York. After the Korean war, Kinney began to sell shoe laces as accessories for the shoes. The father became indebted and George vowed to repay his indebtedness. In 1894, at the age of 28, he had saved enough to purchase a Lester retail outlet in Waverly, New York. Kinney's success came in offering affordably priced shoes to working Americans.
The business chain numbered 362 stores at the conclusion of 1929, with 44 of these opening in the final year of the decade. Foot Locker began as a division of the Kinney Shoe Corporation in 1974.
Chain and later a subsidiary
It was the largest family chain shoe retailer in the United States at the beginning of 1936, with 335 stores operating nationwide. Although it was selling more shoes at the conclusion of 1936 than in 1929, its dollar volume was 20% to 30% below 1929.
On August 31, 1963 the G.R. Kinney Company was sold to F.W. Woolworth. Prior to this it was a subsidiary of the Brown Shoe Company which sold it for $45 million. The firm was renamed the Kinney Shoe Corporation and continued as a fully owned subsidiary of Woolworth. It retained its own eleven member board of directors and an existing panel of corporate officers.
Foot Locker exclusivity
The company continued operating throughout the 1960s and 1970s with divisions named Stylco (1967), Susie Casuals (1968), and Foot Locker (1974). On September 16, 1998 the Venator Group, Woolworth's successor, announced that Kinney's 467 shoe stores and 103 Footquarters stores would close. The Foot Locker division, started in 1974, continues to this day, with Venator changing its name in 2001 to Foot Locker.Footstar also maintains the trademarks of the Kinney and Woolworth brands.
In 1988 Ernest Bennett, a former security guard, was awarded a $5.8 million settlement after he was injured while escorting one of Kinney's managers to a night safe deposit box. Bennett, who was represented by Larry Booth, was paralyzed from the gunshot wounds he received during the incident. The case concluded that Kinney had failed to take proper precautions to warn and protect Bennett.
- "G.R. Kinney Co. Sales". Wall Street Journal. 9 April 1930. p. 6.
- "Brown Shoe Co". Wall Street Journal. 3 December 1964. p. 28.
- "Topics In Wall Street". The New York Times. 30 March 1923. p. 24.
- Kinney Shoe Corporation webpage, internet article.
- "G.R. Kinney Sales Up". Wall Street Journal. 9 January 1930. p. 9.
- Kinney Shoe Corporation, internet article.
- "G.R. Kinney Shows Net of $22,748 For Last Year". Wall Street Journal. 30 January 1936. p. 9.
- "Kinney Co. Calls Meeting to Eliminate Operating Deficit". Wall Street Journal. 4 December 1936. p. 10.
- "Investing In Yourself". Wall Street Journal. 30 June 1965. p. 1.
- McDermott, Kathleen (1994). Retail Revolutionary: Kinney Shoe Corporation's First Century in Footwear. Cambridge.
- Oliver, Myran (20 August 1988). "Crippled security guard wins $5.8 million". Los Angeles Times.
- G.R. Kinney Company history page