Melville Corporation, formerly based in Rye, New York, was a large retail holding company incorporated by Ward Melville in 1922 from Melville Shoe Company. It became CVS Corporation in 1996 under a massive reorganization plan. The company traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker MES, before changing its ticker to CVS.
During the period from 1925 to 1928 the number of Melville stores increased by 184% and net income expanded 360%. In the first three months of 1929 the chain store realized a 34% increase in sales over 1928. In February 1930 the Melville Shoe Corporation controlled 460 Thom McAn, Rival, and John Ward stores in thirty-nine of the United States. At its peak, Melville operated over 7,282 retail stores in approximately 3,500 unique locations, providing a wide range of products.
Melville was one of the first companies in the world to develop a shared-services satellite communications network, consolidating the infrastructure of all of its discrete divisions, resulting in significant cost savings for the corporation.
Beginning in the early 1990s, Melville was under pressure to reorganize and shed its diverse portfolio. Many of the chains the company operated were underperforming.
The chain shed all of its retail chains, except for CVS, which accounted for 40% of Melville's revenue. Its Peoples, Standard Drug, and Austin Drug pharmacies were converted to the CVS identity. Most of the company's units that were unrelated to its pharmacy business were shed in 1996.
Many of the retail divisions that Melville once owned still operate either as independent companies or as subsidiaries of other companies.
During the height of Melville's success, the company operated the following retailing divisions.
- Marshalls (sold to T.J. Maxx in 1995)
- Wilsons The Leather Experts
- Pelle Cuir
- Tannery West
- Snyder Leather Outlets
- Georgetown Leather Design
- Accessory Lady
- Chess King (sold to Merry-Go-Round in 1993; defunct as of 1995)
- Chess King Garage
- Foxmoor (sold in 1985; purchased by Edison Brothers Stores in 1990; closed in Edison Brothers liquidation in 1999)
- Free Fall
- Putnam Stores
- FootAction USA (spun off as Footstar Inc., now owned by Foot Locker)
- FootAction For Kids
- Fan Club
- Thom McAn (was part of Footstar spinoff, now owned by Sears)
- Open Country
- Smart Step
- Woodbridge Shoes
- KB Toys (sold to Consolidated Stores in 1996, defunct as of 2010)
- Circus World
- K & K Toys
- Toy Works (defunct)
- Play Things
- This End Up
- Wood's End
- Broad Street Gossip, Wall Street Journal, April 29, 1929, pg. 2.
- Melville Shoe Corp., Wall Street Journal, February 7, 1930, pg. 9.
- Melville Closes Acquisition, Wall Street Journal, April 15, 1976, pg. 16.
- Steinhauer, Jennifer (October 25, 1995). "Melville Plans To Split Into 3 Companies". The New York Times. Retrieved February 1, 2018.
- "Melville to Sell Foxmoor Chain". The New York Times. February 13, 1985. Retrieved September 16, 2016.
- David Altaner (March 7, 1990). "Foxmoor To Convert Some Stores". Sun-Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.). Retrieved September 16, 2016.