J. W. Robinson's

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J.W. Robinson Co.
Department store
Industry Retail
Fate Merged with May Company California
Successor Robinsons-May (1993–2006)
Macy's (2006-present)
Founded 1883
Defunct 1993
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares.
Parent Associated Dry Goods (1957–1986) The May Department Stores Company (1986–1993)

J. W. Robinson Co., Robinson's, was a chain of department stores operating in the Southern California and Arizona area, previously with headquarters in Los Angeles, California.

Joseph Winchester Robinson was a merchant from Waltham, Massachusetts who moved to Riverside, California in 1882 to develop orange groves. Robinson found the quality of goods and service from local merchants lacking, and reentered the retail business, utilizing his contacts on the East Coast to deliver superior merchandise. Robinson opened the "Boston Dry Goods Store" in 1883 at the corner of Spring and Temple Street, stating that his store offered “fine stocks and refined 'Boston' service.” In 1891, J. W. Robinson died at the age of 45 and his father, Henry Winchester Robinson, came from Boston to Los Angeles to take over the business, and the "Boston Dry Goods Store" was renamed the "J. W. Robinson Company" in honor of its late founder.

Through the middle of the 20th century It was a division of Associated Dry Goods family of stores. The original store was located downtown Los Angeles on West Seventh Street.[1]


This building, opening in 1958, housed Robinson's in Palm Springs and was designed by Pereira & Luckman

The second Robinson's store was opened in Beverly Hills in 1952 on Wilshire Boulevard at Santa Monica Boulevard, next to the Beverly Hilton Hotel (1953). A small Mid-Century modern style "open in winter only" store followed in Palm Springs. A store on Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena followed. The store in Pasadena was the last free standing store as the concept of the shopping mall began to take off. The first stores adjacent or connected to shopping malls opened in Panorama City in the San Fernando Valley (late 1950s), Anaheim Plaza, on upper State Street in Santa Barbara (1960s), and Glendale. By the time J.W. Robinson's was dissolved into Robinson's-May there were almost 30 stores across Southern California from San Diego to Palm Desert to Santa Barbara. In addition, just before the acquisition by May, it had also cooperated with Ito-Yokado to form Robinson's Japan, with one location in Kasukabe, Saitama. In 2009, Robinson's Japan was acquired by Seven & I Holdings Co..

The traditionally carriage-trade J. W. Robinson's had been acquired by May Department Stores in 1986 with its acquisition of Associated Dry Goods. Robinson's had been acquired by Associated Dry Goods (ADG) in 1957 as its West Coast flagship and operated primarily in Southern California. In 1989 when May Company dissolved its Goldwaters division, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, Robinson's took over Goldwaters Phoenix metropolitan stores. May announced the merger of Robinson's and May Company California in 1992 to form Robinsons-May.[2]

Robinson's of Florida[edit]

In the 1970s ADG used the Robinson's name to open a chain of department stores on Florida's Gulf Coast, based in St. Petersburg, Florida, starting with a store at Tyrone Square Mall in 1972. It had been founded in the 1970s as an attempt by ADG to emulate its upscale J. W. Robinson's' stores on the fast-growing Florida Gulf Coast. This newly created division grew to 10 locations. Rather than invest in the then-stagnant Florida market, May sold this division in 1987 to Maison Blanche Co. of Baton Rouge, Louisiana.[3][4] The bulk of the former Robinson’s of Florida locations were subsequently sold by Maison Blanche to Dillard's.