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Bullock's was a department store based in Los Angeles, California. The company operated full-line department stores all across California, with some stores in Arizona and Nevada. Bullock's also operated the more upscale Bullocks Wilshire in parts of Southern California.
Bullock's was founded in 1907 at Seventh & Broadway in downtown Los Angeles by John G. Bullock, with the support of The Broadway Department Store owner Arthur Letts. In 1923, Bullock and business partner P.G. Winnett bought out Letts' interest after his death and the companies became completely separated. In 1929 Bullock & Winnett opened a luxury branch on Wilshire Boulevard, named Bullock's Wilshire.
In 1944 Bullock's acquired I. Magnin & Co., a venerable, San Francisco-based upscale specialty chain. This was followed by the acquisition of the then public-owned Bullock's/I. Magnin organization in 1964 by Federated Department Stores, much to the dismay of surviving founder P.G. Winnett, who publicly lambasted the deal (which was initiated by his own son-in-law, Bullock's President Walter W. Candy Jr.). In the 1970s, to differentiate itself from the full-line Bullock's stores, the very exclusive Wilshire location dropped its apostrophe, became Bullocks Wilshire, and began its own expansion.
Bullock's, Bullocks Wilshire, and I. Magnin retained their autonomy under Federated, as well as their carriage-trade niche, with I. Magnin expanding into the Chicago and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas and Bullock's opening stores in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Northern California.  In 1983 however, Federated shuttered the Bullock's North division and sold most of its locations to a Seattle, Washington upstart: Nordstrom. In 1988, after an ugly takeover battle between Robert Campeau and Macy's for Federated, Bullock's and I. Magnin were sold by Campeau to Macy's as a consolation prize for one billion dollars, which plunged Macy's into debt. The new owners responded by dismantling Bullock's Los Angeles corporate offices, merging Bullocks Wilshire into I. Magnin, and Bullock's into its Macy's South division, thus sending what had been Federated's most profitable division into a precipitous decline and alienating the local customers.
The end came quickly for Bullock's after Macy's filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992, with the Bullocks Wilshire stores being renamed I. Magnin two years before. I. Magnin and Bullock's were pruned of their underperforming branches, and I. Magnin itself was dissolved in January 1995 once Federated Department Stores reappeared on the scene and acquired Macy's. In 1996—following the acquisition of Broadway Stores, Inc.—Federated consolidated all its traditional department-store business in California under the Macy's nameplate, ending 89 years of Bullock's.
Although the Bullocks Wilshire stores was deemed the most exclusive, the full-line Bullock's stores offered upscale designers such as Giorgio Armani, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Missoni, Krizia, Valentino, Salvatore Ferragamo, Byblos, Hugo Boss and Gieves & Hawkes. Under Federated, the 22 Bullock's stores offered consistent assortments in each location, a key to the company's profit and success (exceptions were the Lakewood, West Covina, Carlsbad and Grossmont, CA locations.) Under the corporate oversight of Macy's South in Atlanta, the 22 Bullock's stores were divided into 3 competing regions: merchant offices with extremely limited control were established in Santa Ana, Sherman Oaks and the existing 800 S. Hope Street building. Macy's, now under tremendous debt, national economic issues and having alienated customers with swift and usually reactive changes to the Bullock's brand, focused and relied on South Coast Plaza, Sherman Oaks and Beverly Center to retain an upscale clientele.
Bullocks Wilshire was one of the more important divisions of Bullock's, Inc. until it was consolidated into I. Magnin by Macy's in 1989. The division could be traced to the opening of a single luxury branch store of Bullock's in 1929. In 1968, The Bullock's store in Palm Springs (built in 1947) was transferred to the control of Bullock's Wilshire to be its first branch store. Four years later, in 1972, Bullock's Wilshire store was separated from Bullock's as a separate division with its own, president, chairman, buyers and staff with Walter Bergquist, former president of Bullock's, assigned as the division's first president.
I. Magnin was acquired in 1944 and stores in this division were kept separate from those of Bullock's and the other divisions. There were times in which I. Magnin stores were in close proximity to Bullock's stores and may have been in competition with those stores in those areas. The division lasted until 1994 when Macy's liquidated the brand and convert some of the stores to other brands while closing the rest.
In the early 1970s, Federated wanted to moved into the San Francisco Bay Area, an area of the country in which they never had any stores and was dominated by stores owned by Macy's and Broadway-Hale. They decided to open a new division that reported directly to Federated, but chose a name, Bullock's North, that had some slight name recognition, but was distinct enough from its sister division to the south.
The first store in the division opened at the Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto in March 1972. It had 150,000 square feet on two floors. Two years later, a second store was opened in downtown Walnut Creek in 1974, followed by a third store that was opened in the following year at the Vallco Fashion Park in Cupertino.
A store was originally scheduled to open in Marin County the following year. Federated obtained property and even received clearance from the Corte Madera City Council to start construction, but resistance by local residents was so strong that they were able to obtain a recall election and were able the eject city council member that had voted in favor for the new store off the council and thus killing the project. A fourth store opened in 1977 at the Stonestown shopping center in San Francisco and was followed by the opening of a fifth store in 1978 at the Oakridge Mall in San Jose. In 1982, Bullock's North opened it sixth and final store in the ill-fated Fashion Island Mall in San Mateo. This particular store was unusual because the store was covered by a tent instead of a conventional roof. The unusual roof was probably one of the reasons why Federated was unable to sell this particular store and closed the store as soon as the lease had expired.
A year later, Federated closed the division and sold five of the stores and quietly closed the San Mateo store. Nordstrom purchased three stores while Emporium-Capwell and Mervyn's purchased a single store each.
In the late 1980s, Federated recognized that many of their young affluent female customers were unable to find youthful designer clothing in plus sizes and that very few stores were catering to that market, with the exception of Lane Bryant, Federated decided to test the idea that the plus-sized market young adult market was under-served by opening a stand-alone shop called Bullock's Woman in an upscale Las Vegas mall that already held a full-line Bullock's department store in March 1987. After operating the store for a few months, Federated determined that the venture was profitable enough to expand the concept to other malls containing Bullock's and/or Bullocks Wilshire by opening a second and third stores in Palm Desert and in Woodland Hills in September 1987.
- "Bullock's Will Open in Arizona". Los Angeles Times. February 23, 1975. p. i14. (subscription required (. ))
The first Bullock's Department Store to be located outside of California will be constructed in the Camel View Shopping Center, Scottsdale, Ariz.,the firm said.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- "Bullock's Enters Arizona Market". Los Angeles Times. March 20, 1977. p. g4. (subscription required (. ))
Bullock's has opened a full-line department store in the Camel View Plaza, Scottsdale, Ariz., the first entry of the chain into that state. The chain has broken ground for a second Paradise Valley store to open in Christown in 1978.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- "Major stores at plaza cover wide range". Los Angeles Times. February 13, 1981. p. j3. (subscription required (. ))
The five major department stores at the Fashion Show in Las Vegas offer a diverse selection of goods. Bullock's, a 122,550-square-foot facility, will feature a contemporary interior.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- Chaplin, M.C. (January 20, 1971). "Federated to Put Bullock's in Bay Area". Los Angeles Times. p. G13. (subscription required (. ))
Federated Department Stores Inc., announced the creation Tuesday of a new division, Bullock's north, which will open a chain of Bullock's department stores in the San Francisco area.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- "Federated Stores Plans To Start New Division In San Francisco Area". Wall Street Journal. January 20, 1971. p. 32. (subscription required (. ))
Federated Department stores Inc. plans to start a new division, Bullock's North, in the San Francisco area. The first store in the new division will be in the Stanford shopping center in Palo Alto. It is to open in the spring of 1972.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- "Federated Stores". New York Times. July 21, 1983.
- Yoshihara, Nancy (July 21, 1983). "Federated Plans to Sell Bullock's Stores in North". Los Angeles Times. pp. F1–F2. (subscription required (. ))
The unit, which was established in 1971 as a separate and autonomous group from Federated's Los Angeles-based Bullock's division, operates six stores located in Palo Alto, Walnut Creek, San Jose, Vallco in Cupertino, Oakridge in San Jose and Stonestown and Fashion Island in San Mateo. The transaction does not affect the Southern California Bullock's operations. Seattle-based Nordstrom, which currently operates one store in the San Mateo area, confirmed reports that it reached an agreement to acquire the Bullock's stores in Walnut Creek, Palo Alto and Oakridge.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- Golum, Rob (July 21, 1983). "Federated Confirms Plans To Sell Bullock's Division". WWD 146 (14). p. 2.
Federated Department Stores said Wedneday it plans to liquidate its Bullock's Northern California division, based in Palo Alto, and has already signed letters of intent to sell off "certain stores." But the Seattle-based Nordstrom confirmed it is buying three of the six Bullock's North units - Palo Alto and Walnut Creek near San Francisco and Oakridge in San Jose. Carter Hawley Hale in Los Angeles said it agreed to purchase the Vallco store in San Jose for its San Francisco-based Emporium-Capwell division. Mervyn's, the promotional department store chain based in Hayward, Calif., is reportedly negotiating for the Stonestown store. The sixth remaining unit is Fashion Island in San Mateo, which is an experimentally designed store with a tent-like polyurethane roof.Link via ProQuest.
- Sanchez, Jesus (April 2, 1988). "Campeau Gets Federated; Macy's to Buy Bullock's". Los Angeles Times.
- Groves, Martha (April 22, 1988). "Bullock's Executives Said to Be Out in Big Reshuffling by Macy's". Los Angeles Times.
- Groves, Martha (November 12, 1988). "Bullock's to Cut 25 Jobs, Move Ad Offices to Atlanta". Los Angeles Times.
- Lazzareschi, Carla (January 28, 1992). "R.H. Macy Files for Bankruptcy : Retailing: Firm says it will conduct business as usual after taking Chapter 11 action in New York. No immediate store closures or layoffs are seen.". Los Angeles Times.
- Groves, Martha (October 5, 1989). "Say Goodby to Bullocks Wilshire : The new owner will put the I. Magnin name on the venerable chain of elegant fashion stores.". Los Angeles Times.
- White, George & Lee, Patrick (March 2, 1993). "Closures by Macy Include Former Bullocks Wilshire : Retailing: The Art Deco landmark, which is now an I. Magnin, is among eight stores to close in California.". Los Angeles Times.
- White, George & Gendel, Debra (November 19, 1994). "Venerable I. Magnin to Pass Into History : Retailing: Macy Co. rejects offer by grandson of founder. Fashion Island store and seven others will close.". Los Angeles Times.
- White, George & Gendel, Debra (November 19, 1994). "Macy to Let I. Magnin Pass Into History : Retailing: Eight of the department stores will be closed and four converted. A grandson's offer for all 12 was not accepted.". Los Angeles Times.
- "Final Hurdle for Macy, Federated Deal Cleared : Reorganization: Merger of retailers will create nation's largest department store firm.". Los Angeles Times. December 9, 1994.
- White, George & Apodaca, Patrice (October 13, 1995). "All Bullock's Stores to Be Converted to Macy's". Los Angeles Times.
- Whitaker, Alma (September 26, 1929). "Bullock's In Debut Today: New Wilshire Store, Marking Daring Experiment in Merchandising, Ready to Open Doors". Los Angeles Times. pp. A1–A2. (subscription required (. ))
Bullock's Wilshire is a temple to women.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- "Features: Palm Springs Now 'Wilshire'". Women's Wear Daily 116 (38). February 23, 1968. p. 7.
Bullock's has confirmed it has changed the name of its Palm Springs operation to Bullock's Wilshire," but company president Walter Bergquist said there are no present plans to change other stores to that name.Link via ProQuest.
- "Bullock's Wilshire Now A Separate Business". Women's Wear Daily 124 (23). February 2, 1972. p. 50.
Bullock's Inc., has taken the wraps off an expansion program which has long been the subject of speculation along the retail front. It includes development of Bullock's Wilshire as a separate business, with its own growth program, and addition of new Bullock's units. Word of these developments came from Weston P. Figgins, chairman. and Howard Goldfeder, president. Both declined to expand on a terse bulletin. Bulllock's Wilshire, which has long operated as an autonomous entity under the Bullock's management wing, now will function on its own with additional units carrying Bullock's Wilshire merchandise. Goldfeder succeeded Walter Bergquist as Bullock's president. Bergquist was shifted to the new post of president, Bullock's Wilshire, a step which tended to substantiate speculation relative to possible growth of the autonomous store which also operates Bullock's unit in Palm Springs. Bullock's. Inc., operates 10 stores.Link via ProQuest.
- "Store Merger in Final Stage". Los Angeles Times. July 15, 1944. p. A6. (subscription required (. ))
Final steps were started yesterday in the affiliation of I. Magnin & Co. with Bullock's, Inc. P.G. Winnett, president of Bullock's, announced that more than 80 per cent of the outstanding share of I. Magnin have accepted Rullock's offer of exchange.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- "Federated Stores Starts Division at San Francisco". New York Times. January 20, 1971. p. 45. (subscription required (. ))
Federated Department Stores, Inc., the country's largest department-store chain, announced yesterday the establishment of a new division. Bullock's North, in the San Francisco area. The first store in the new division, to be followed by others, will be a 15,000-square-foot unit in the Stanford Shopping Center In Palo Alto, Calif. It is expected to open by spring, 1972.Alternate Link via ProQuest.
- "Bullock Move Into Bay Area Is Confirmed: Bullock's Into Bay Area". Women's Wear Daily 122 (13). January 20, 1971. pp. 1, 11.
Federated Department Stores, Inc., Tuesday announced the launching of Bullock's North, a new division in the San Francisco area, to be headed by Morton Hull. Bullock's North's first store will total 150,000 square feet, and will be in the Stanford shopping center in Palo Alto.Link via ProQuest.
- Cohen, Ben (June 11, 1971). "Bullock's North About To Sign For 2 New Stores In Bay Area: Middle Price Market". Women's Wear Daily 122 (113). p. 11.
Bullock's North, the Federated Dept. Stores Inc., division building its first store in the Stanford shopping center here is about to sign for two more stores. For the time being, the Stanford store will be the headquarters. As reported, the Stanford unit will be 150,000 square feet on two levels. According to the president, Bullock's is setting its sights on the upper middle price market in the area. Retail observers here think a major battle is shaping up between Bullock's North and Macy's California.Link via ProQuest.
- "Bullock's north now set for 2nd unit". Women's Wear Daily 126 (12). January 17, 1973. p. 65.
Bullock's North finally cleared the last hurdles to its proposed second store in downtown Walnut Creek. The store, which opened its first unit in Sanford shopping center here last March. Bullock's plans to build a three-story, 180,000-square-foot store at the corner of South Broadway and Mt. Diablo Boulevard, downtown. The area is called the Broadway shopping center. Opening is scheduled for March 1974, and ground will be broken soon.Link via ProQuest.
- "Bullock's North Opens 3rd Unit In California". Women's Wear Daily 131 (62). September 29, 1975. p. 2.
Bullock's North has opened its third northern California store. The l80,000-square-foot Store is in the Vallco Fashion Park, at the intersection of Route 280 and Wolfe Ave., here. The other two Bullock's North stores are in the Stanford shopping center, Palo Alto, and in downtown Walnut Creek. Work reportedly will start soon on Bullock's next store, in Marin County.Link via ProQuest.
- Cohen, Ben (August 11, 1976). "Bullock's sets first San Francisco unit: Stonestown is picked as site for store". WWD 133 (29). p. 19.
Bullock's North is planning its fourth store in this area and the first in San Francisco, in the Stonestown shopping center. Bullock's expects to build a 180,000-square-foot unit on the former City of Paris site in the center, with a multi-story parking facility next door. Apparently, the new unit will be a full-line department store similar to units in Walnut Creek and Vallco Park. Both stores recently opened furniture departments. The main store, in the Stanford shopping center, still has no furniture section, and is the smallest of the three, 150,000 square feet. Bullock's committed itself to a branch in the Corte Madera shopping center in Marin County several years ago, but the electorate recalled the City Council members who had approved the plan.Link via ProQuest.
- "Bullock's North Under Construction". WWD 134 (27). February 8, 1977. p. 14.
Construction is underway on the 172,000-square-foot Bullock's North branch in Stonestown shopping center here.Link via ProQuest.
- "San Mateo Mall Completed". Los Angeles Times. May 2, 1982. p. g2.
Construction has been completed on the $62-million, 856,000-square-foot San Mateo Fashion Island, a single level shopping and recreation complex in San Mateo. The complex features Bullock's, J.C. Penney, Liberty House and Montgomery Ward department stores and 132 specialty shops.Link via ProQuest.
- Hartlaub, Peter (January 14, 2011). "Never mind the Bullock’s: A tribute to Fashion Island in San Mateo". San Francisco Chronicle.
- Groves, Martha (March 6, 1987). "Bullock's Woman : Specialty Retailer's New Store Has Chic Size-16 Set in Mind". Los Angeles Times.
Taking a plunge into the fastest-growing segment of apparel retailing, the Bullock's department store chain is opening a Las Vegas store catering to large-size apparel for women. The 3,000-square-foot store, to be called Bullock's Woman, is scheduled to open March 14 at the city's Fashion Show Mall, next to a Bullock's department store and not far from a Lane Bryant, the reputed leader in large-size retailing.
- Ginsberg, Steve (March 5, 1987). "Bullock's Plans 15-Store Chain For Large Sizes: Bullock's Launching Stores For Large Sizes". WWD 153 (43). pp. 1, 21.
Bullock's will open a prototype store on Monday for large-size women's apparel. Called Bullock's Woman, it will be in the Las Vegas Fashion Show Mall. The 3,000-square-foot store will be the first of a planned chain of possibly 15 stores that will carry dresses and sportswear for sizes 14 to 24. Bullock's Woman will also carry a limited assortment of accessories, intimate apparel and hosiery. Bullock's Woman marks the first time this division of Federated Department Stores has spun off a specialty store concept since the opening of Bullocks Wilshire in 1929.Link via ProQuest.
- Groves, Martha (September 13, 1987). "Bullock's Finds Its Large-Size Clothing Stores Are a Big Hit". Los Angeles Times.
Buoyed by a successful six-month test run of its Bullock's Woman store in Las Vegas, the Los Angeles department store company last week opened a second location at the Palm Desert Town Center, and will start up a third, at Promenade Mall in Woodland Hills, next Saturday.
- "Bullock's Woman To Open Calif. Unit". WWD 154 (49). September 9, 1987. p. 2.
Bullock's Woman will make its debut in southern California Saturday with a 3,000-square-foot store in the Palm Desert Town Center. The large size specialty store concept was introduced last March in Las Vegas by Bullock's department stores. A third store is tentatively slated to open Sept. 26 at Woodland Hills Promenade shopping center in the San Fernando Valley.Link via ProQuest.
- P.G.Winnet-Time Magazine archive
- Bullock's on an old post card
- Los Angeles Downtown News-Department Stores Past