Waltons (department store)

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Drawing of former Walton's Flagship store, on the corner of George & Park Streets, Sydney, Australia

Waltons was an Australian department store chain, founded by John Robert Walton (1904-1998).[1]

History[edit]

Walton's slogan.

Walton bought a menswear store in 1951, located in George Street, Sydney, opposite the Queen Victoria Building and Sydney Town Hall and close to Town Hall railway station.

In 1955, he formed an alliance with the American retail giant Sears and Roebuck. In the early 1960s he formed a finance company in partnership with Citibank, and also moved into insurance.[1]

There were changes in the retail scene in Australia in the 1960s and Waltons Limited bought out Marcus Clark & Co. in 1966,[2] and then Anthony Hordern & Sons and merged its country store operation into the Walton's store group. This excluded the Brickfield Hill store in the south of Sydney's CBD, which by 1969 had already closed. Next they acquired McDowell's Holding Ltd in 1971, the owners of McDowell's department stores. By 1972, the Waltons chain had expanded to 96 department stores before Walton retired as executive chairman. Sir John severed his ties with the company in 1976, and his son John took over.

Alan Bond bought Waltons Ltd. in 1981, but the purchase became a financial disaster, with Bond losing $199 million in 1983. The Waltons department store name then disappeared, when Alan Bond sold and split up Waltons in 1987, to interests associated with the Cookes family. The Cookes family then turned the remaining stores into Venture and Norman Ross outlets. In 1994, Venture went bankrupt.

The flagship Waltons department store in George Street, Sydney, was demolished and employees and the media were informed Bond Corp. intended to build Australia's tallest building including a brand new Waltons store on the same site. Due to the above mentioned losses, this didn't happen. This piece of prime real estate remained nothing more than a huge hole in the ground for years. It was finally replaced by the Citibank office tower which includes the Galeries Victoria retail space. The main Melbourne store, in Bourke Street Melbourne was remodelled into a Village Cinema complex which in turn closed in 2006.

The Waltons store in Fortitude Valley still has a Brunswick Street Mall store front with signage "Waltons" but with blacked out door glass since the store closed around 1987. The Street entrances or exits to the bottom level which are occupied by Asian novelty product stores still have the words Walton screwed into the wall with the S removed perhaps as a souvenir.

Store locations[edit]

Australian Capital Territory[edit]

New South Wales[edit]

Queensland[edit]

Victoria[edit]

Nearly all these stores closed in 1983

South Australia[edit]

Miller Anderson Limited was acquired by Waltons Limited, as a result over its 1966 takeover of Marcus Clark & Co. Ltd. Miller Anderson Limited. Miller Anderson Limited had stores in the following locations:

  • 16-24 Hindley Street, Adelaide - closed in 1989
  • Clare
  • Brighton

References[edit]