Robert Hall Clothes

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Robert Hall Clothes
Founded1937 [1]
FounderJacob Schwab [2] [3]
Defunct1977 [1]
ParentUnited Merchants and Manufacturers Inc.[1]

Robert Hall Clothes, Inc., popularly known simply as Robert Hall, was an American retailer that flourished circa 1938-1977. Although based in Connecticut, its warehouse-like stores were mostly concentrated in the New York and Los Angeles basins. According to a Time magazine story of 1949, the corporate name was a complete invention; the actual founder and head was a garment merchant by the name of Jacob Schwab, who "plucked the name out of the air."[2] It started as a single store in Waterbury, Connecticut in 1937.[2]


Robert Hall was a pioneer of the low-overhead, large-facility ("big-box") merchandising technique, and combined inexpensively made goods with extensive radio and television advertising. Many Americans who grew up in the 1950s and 60s recall the commercial jingles of the time. ("When the values go up up up/And the prices go down down down/Robert Hall this season/Will show you the reason/Low overheads - Low overheads.")

The company also operated outlets of Robert Hall Village,[4] where Robert Hall clothing was sold alongside other merchandise in stores of approximately 120,000 ft² in what's considered one of the forerunners of the discount superstore concept. Non-clothing retail areas were leased to other companies[5].


In July 1977, Robert Hall's parent company, United Merchants and Manufacturers, filed for bankruptcy citing losses from the Robert Hall chain. All Robert Hall stores were closed and inventory was auctioned off.[6] The Robert Hall business was purchased out of the UMM bankruptcy by Steven Watstein, who managed to do it with its own assets then liquidated it.[7]


  1. ^ a b c Michman, Ronald D.; Alan James Greco (1995). Retailing triumphs and blunders : victims of competition in the new age of marketing management. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 135–136. ISBN 0-89930-869-4. ([1])
  2. ^ a b c "Up in the Loft". TIME. April 25, 1949. Retrieved 2008-03-26.
  3. ^ "Company Histories: United Merchants Manufacturers Inc.", (adapted from entry in the International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 13. St. James Press, 1996.)
  4. ^ ROBERT HALL VILLAGE Trademark of Robert Hall Clothes, Inc. - Justia Trademarks
  5. ^ Jeff Spitalnik, former Robert Hall Villages management, comment on North Park Mall, Villa Park, Ill
  6. ^ Barmash, Isadore (July 13, 1977). "United Merchants, Citing Losses, Files Voluntary Bankruptcy Action". The New York Times. pp. D1.
  7. ^ Palm Beach: Wild Wild West Robert Hall purrchased and liquidated by Steven Watstein