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Not to be confused with Bergner's.
Industry Retail
Founded 1854
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Number of locations
50 (June 2014)[1]
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, housewares
Parent Bergner's (1991–1998)
Saks, Inc. (1998–2006)
The Bon-Ton (2006–present)

Carson's, (formerly Carson Pirie Scott and Co.) is an American chain of upscale department stores located primarily in the midwest, with over 50 stores under the nameplate.

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.



Carson's previous logo used between 1946 through 1978.
Carson's Logo used between 1978 through the early 1990s. In later years, the boxes would be dropped and a "red flower" would appear next to it.
Carson Pirie Scott's last logo before the name was shortened to Carson's.

The chain began in 1854 when Scotsmen Samuel Carson and John Pirie first clerked in the Murray's dry goods store in Peru, Illinois - then opened their own store in LaSalle, Illinois followed by one in Amboy, Illinois. 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 1989, Carson Pirie Scott & Co. was acquired by P.A. Bergner & Co. (founded in Peoria, Illinois), who operated the Bergner's, Charles V. Weise, Myers Brothers and Boston Store chains.


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[edit]

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[edit]

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.[2] The group's merchandising and marketing base remains in Milwaukee.

Bon-Ton converted Elder-Beerman stores in Indiana and Michigan to the newly shortened Carson's name in 2011 and 2012.[3][4] The chain expanded into Metro Detroit in 2013 with the conversion of three Parisian stores.[5]

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Siry, Joseph M. Carson Pirie Scott: Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Department Store. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1988. ISBN 0-226-76136-3

External links[edit]