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What is the Oldest U.S. Retail Company & What Year Was the First Chain Founded?


Question: What is the Oldest U.S. Retail Company & What Year Was the First Chain Founded?
Since the U.S. has a relatively short history as a country, it’s not surprising that some of the most well known American companies in the retail industry have a history that extends back to the earliest days of America. The U.S. retail companies that are considered great American legacy retailers include Sears Roebuck, Bloomingdales, Macy’s, Lord & Taylor, Brooks Brothers and A&P. But which U.S. retail chain is THE oldest and was THE first?
Answer: It is commonly assumed that Macy’s is the oldest retail chain in the U.S. But actually, the oldest U.S. retail chain can trace its roots back to April 17, 1818 when Henry Sands Brooks opened H. & D.H. Brooks & Co., recognized as the first ready-to-wear fashion emporium in America. Prior to the opening of H. & D.H. Brooks & Co., apparel was either homemade or customer tailored.

When the four sons of Henry Brooks inherited his business after his death, it was renamed to become the legacy American retail company that we are familiar with today - Brooks Brothers. As of 2013 Brooks Brothers operates retail stores in 25 countries, including the U.S., and is headquartered On Madison Avenue in New York City, NY.

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