Salkin & Linoff

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Salkin & Linoff was a Minnesota-based retailer of primarily private label women's, junior (and to a lesser extent) men's and children's clothes. The retailer had a wide variety of store name plates, including S&L, Bostwicks, Peck & Peck, Stevensons, Wrangler Wroost, Hurrah!, Morrey Alan (later shortened to Morrey A), Nina B, Bostwicks for Men, Bostwicks for Women and Mauritizos. Founded by semi- visionary retailer Joseph Linoff and his cousin Sam Salkin in the early 1920s, the company filled the void in smaller midwest cities and competed with moderate retailers (e.g. J.C. Penney's) while providing a similar merchandise mix but with a "small-town" feel.

At its peak, Salkin & Linoff was one of the largest independent clothing retailer with 400+ stores across the contential United States. Under the leadership of Sam Salkin's son Morrey, the company continued to grow through the late 1980s but the growth peak began to head down when aggressive growth could not mask volume and profitability problems. Key field managers feared the technology momentum needed to enable point-of-sale (POS) throughout their locations nationwide would not be attempted due to cost (and it never was implemented) and that inability was a symptom for the declining business model of S&L.

An interesting (some say mish-mash) make-up of stores in the marketplace showed Salkin & Linoff to be, at best, a multi-dimensional combination of stores and at worst, a collection of random stores in random sites selling generic merchandise. This business model, plus senior management ineptitude combined to force S&L out of business in 1990. The chain was basically shut down and sold off a few small surviving stores while the vast majority of the chain was shuttered along with Morrey's eccentric collection of store furnishings (antique wall paneling, chandeliers, etc.).

The primary flaw centered on the wide mix of selections (thus, limited any particular impact), the inability to be flexible in the smaller towns (when competing against more savvy local owner/operators) and the inconsistent and disengaged senior leadership from the top caused much of the demise. While considered the three-legged dog of speciality retailing, some specific store locations of the surviving Peck & Peck chain were sold by Salkin & Linoff in the mid/late 1980s to H.C. Prange and a few single stores may remain but are now considered, at best, a tiny insignificant afterthought of American fashion retailing.

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