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Encyclopedia > Eaton's
T. Eaton Co. Limited
Fate Filed for bankruptcy, assets purchased by Sears Canada in 1999. Several stores were operated under a separate brand but all converted to Sears banner in 2002
Founded 1869
Defunct 1999 as an entity, 2002 as a brand
Location Toronto, Canada (with stores across Canada)
Industry retail (Department store)
Products Over the years, everything from clothing to farming implements
Key people Timothy Eaton, John Craig Eaton, Flora McCrea Eaton (Lady Eaton)
Peak size 70,000 (peak) employees

Eaton's was once Canada's largest department store retailer. Founded in 1869 in Toronto by Timothy Eaton, an Irish immigrant, Eaton's first advertisement read "We propose to sell our goods for CASH ONLY – In selling goods, to have only one price." In an era where haggling for goods was commonplace, this was a revolutionary business practice.[1] Image File history File links Eatons-logo. ... Sears Canada Inc. ... Sears Holdings Corporation NASDAQ: SHLD is the third largest retailer in the United States, behind Wal-Mart and The Home Depot. ... Drawing of a self-service store. ... The interior of a typical Macys department store. ... The Eaton Family mausoleum in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Timothy Eaton (1834 â€“ January 31, 1907) was a Canadian businessman who founded the Eatons department store, one of the most important retail businesses in Canadas history. ... Sir John Craig Eaton (1876 - 1922) was a Canadian businessman, and member of the prominent Eaton Family. ... This article does not cite its references or sources. ... The interior of a typical Macys department store. ... A drawing of a self-service store Retailing consists of the sale of goods/merchandise for personal or household consumption either from a fixed location such as a department store or kiosk, or away from a fixed location and related subordinated services (Definition of the WTO (last page). ... The Eaton Family mausoleum in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada Timothy Eaton (1834 â€“ January 31, 1907) was a Canadian businessman who founded the Eatons department store, one of the most important retail businesses in Canadas history. ... Haggling is the process of negotiating the price of something (eg, an piece of merchandise or a service) with the intent of getting a better deal than the stated price. ...


The T. Eaton Co. Limited grew to become a retail and social institution in Canada, with stores across the country, buying offices across the globe, and a catalogue that found itself in the homes of most Canadians. Eaton's was well known for its customer service, as expressed in its long-standing slogan "Goods Satisfactory or Money Refunded."[2] A rapidly changing economic and retail environment in the late 20th century proved difficult for Eaton’s, and the chain went bankrupt in 1999. It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Mail order. ...

Contents

Early years

1869 was the middle of the reign of Queen Victoria, and the infancy of the nation of Canada (Confederation having occurred only two years previously). It was in this year that Timothy Eaton sold his interest in a small dry-goods store in the little market town of St. Marys, Ontario and bought a dry-goods and haberdashery business at 178 Yonge Street, south of Queen Street West, in the rapidly growing city of Toronto. On December 8, 1869, an advertisement ran in The Globe for the new “T. Eaton & Co.”, promoting “sound goods, good styles and good value”. We dont have an article called Canadian-confederation Start this article Search for Canadian-confederation in. ... St. ... A haberdasher is a person who sells small items via retail, commonly items used in clothing, such as ribbons and buttons, or completed accessories, such as hats or gloves. ... Yonge Street at North York Centre. ... Queen Street West refers to both a major east-west downtown street and a series of neighbourhoods or commercial districts within the city of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... is the 342nd day of the year (343rd in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1869 (MDCCCLXIX) is a common year starting on Friday (link will take you to calendar) of the Gregorian calendar or a common year starting on Sunday of the 12-day-slower Julian calendar. ... The Globe and Mail is a Canadian English-language nationally distributed newspaper, based in Toronto and printed in six cities across the country. ...


The first store was only 24 by 60 feet in size (7.3 by 18.3 metres), with two shop windows, and was located a fair distance from Toronto’s then fashionable shopping district of King Street West. In its first year of operation, staff consisted of “two men, a woman and a boy”, with Timothy Eaton responsible for buying the goods to stock the store. Expectations were low that a store with a no credit and no haggling policy would succeed. King Street is a major east-west commercial thoroughfare in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ...


Nonetheless, the business prospered, and its growth matched the rapid growth of Toronto in the late 19th century. When further expansion of the existing store became impossible, Timothy Eaton moved his business one block north in August 1883 into much larger premises at 190 Yonge Street. The new store boasted the biggest plate-glass windows in Toronto, the first electric lights in any Canadian store, three full floors of retail space featuring 35 departments, and a light-well that ran the full-length of the store. The store’s first telephone, with phone number 370, was installed in 1885. In 1886, the first elevator in a retail establishment in Toronto was installed in the Eaton store (although only customers “going up” were invited to use the elevator, thus requiring them to pass by the various store displays on their walk down).

The cover of the first Eaton's catalogue, published in 1884.
The cover of the first Eaton's catalogue, published in 1884.

Despite the move to 190 Yonge Street, Timothy Eaton maintained the lease on the empty store at 178 Yonge Street until its expiry in 1884, in order to delay the expansion plans of one of his competitors, Robert Simpson. Over time, the competition between the Simpson's and Eaton’s department stores, facing each other across Queen Street West, became one of Toronto’s great business rivalries. As both businesses expanded into retail chains across Canada, the Eaton’s/Simpson’s rivalry was at one time as central to Canadian retailing as the Macy's/Gimbel's competition was to New York City’s retail history. The pedestrian crosswalk on Queen Street West, just to the west of the intersection with Yonge Street, was for years one of the busiest in Canada, as thousands of shoppers a day comparison shopped between Eaton’s and Simpson’s. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (936x1474, 734 KB) Summary Created October 1, 2005 by Michael Stewart. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (936x1474, 734 KB) Summary Created October 1, 2005 by Michael Stewart. ... Robert Simpson (September 16, 1834-December 14, 1897) was the founder of Simpsons Department Store. ... The Robert Simpson Company, or Simpsons, was a Canadian department store chain, founded by Robert Simpson in 1872. ... This article is about the R. H. Macy & Co. ... The references in this article would be clearer with a different and/or consistent style of citation, footnoting or external linking. ... New York, New York and NYC redirect here. ...


By 1896, Eaton’s was billing itself as “Canada’s Greatest Store”. The store continued to expand in size, and new buildings were constructed to house the mail order division and the Eaton’s factories. The number of people employed in the various Eaton’s operations numbered 17,500 in 1911. In 1919, the golden jubilee of the store, the Eaton’s buildings in Toronto contained a floor space of over 60 acres, and occupied several city blocks between Yonge Street and Bay Street, north of Queen Street West. Torontos Bay Street in the heart of the financial district. ...


The Winnipeg store

At the beginning of the 20th century, Eaton's conducted a large business in Western Canada through its catalogue. At first, Eaton's considered Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada as the most logical location for a new mail order warehouse to better serve its western customers. At the time, Winnipeg was a thriving and rapidly growing city, serving as gateway to the Canadian West, with more millionaires per capita than either Toronto or Ottawa. A store, however, was not originally part of the plans. For other uses, see Winnipeg (disambiguation). ... Motto: Gloriosus et Liber (Latin: Glorious and free) Capital Winnipeg Largest city Winnipeg Official languages English French (de facto) Government Lieutenant-Governor John Harvard Premier Gary Doer (NDP) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament House seats 14 Senate seats 6 Confederation July 15, 1870 (5th) Area  Ranked 8th Total 647,797... This article is about the capital city of Canada. ...


John Craig Eaton, the son of Timothy Eaton, became an early proponent of building a combined store and mail order operation in Winnipeg. Although Timothy Eaton initially had misgivings over the difficulties involved in managing a store 2100 kilometres from Toronto, John Craig was eventually able to convince his father to bless the project. Eaton's acquired a city block on Portage Avenue at Donald Street, and the five-storey Eaton's store opened to much fanfare on July 15, 1905. Timothy Eaton and his family were on hand for the opening of the second Eaton's store, with the Winnipeg Daily Tribune noting in its front page headline: "The Canadian Napoleon of Retail Commerce Reaches the Capital - Views His Great Store for First Time - Well Pleased". Sir John Craig Eaton (1876 - 1922) was a Canadian businessman, and member of the prominent Eaton Family. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... is the 196th day of the year (197th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1905 (disambiguation). ... The Winnipeg Tribune was a newspaper serving Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada from 1890 to 1980. ...


The landmark red brick store, known as "the Big Store" to Winnipeggers, was an instant success. The initial staff of 750 grew to 1200 within a few weeks of the opening. By 1910, three more storeys were added to the store and other buildings were constructed. By 1919, the Eaton's operations in Winnipeg covered 21 acres and employed 8000 people.


For many years, the Winnipeg Eaton's store was considered the most successful department store in the world, given how it dominated its local market. As late as the 1960s, Canadian Magazine estimated that Winnipeggers spent more than 50 cents of every shopping dollar (excluding groceries) at Eaton's, and that on a busy day, one out of every ten Winnipeggers would visit the Portage Avenue store.


Canada’s dominant retailer

The Eaton's store, the Eaton's Annex, mail order facilities and factories in Toronto, at Yonge and Queen Streets, in 1920.

The store founded by Timothy Eaton was not the first department store in the world, nor was the Eaton’s store the first to offer fixed prices and a money-back guarantee. Nonetheless, the success of Eaton’s revolutionized department store retailing in North America. American retailers flocked to view the “retail palaces” on Yonge Street and Portage Avenue, anxious to replicate Timothy Eaton’s methods south of the border. Until the 1950s, Eaton's promoted itself as the "largest retail organization in the British Empire". ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1056x665, 376 KB) Summary 1920 postcard from Toronto, Canada. ... ImageMetadata File history File links Download high resolution version (1056x665, 376 KB) Summary 1920 postcard from Toronto, Canada. ... The Eatons House Furnishing Building in 1919, later known at the Eatons Annex. ...


In 1905, the Globe wrote: “There is hardly a name in Canada, with the possible exception of the Prime Minister, so well known to the people at large as that of Mr. Timothy Eaton.” Timothy Eaton died in 1907, and was succeeded by John Craig Eaton as President of the T. Eaton Co. Limited.


The company’s success continued under Timothy’s heir. In 1911, Saturday Night magazine declared: “Never before in the history of the world has it been possible for a store to be run on this humanitarian basis of beauty, use and efficiency. All of Canada is proud of Eaton’s; and Canada should be, for here we find a store that has set the world a pace in modern merchandising.” In the same year, the Illustrated London News stated: “The T. Eaton Co. of Toronto can claim their stores are the greatest in the British Empire.” Saturday Night is a Canadian general interest magazine. ... The Illustrated London News was a magazine founded by Herbert Ingram and his friend Mark Lemon, the editor of Punch magazine. ...


In 1925, Eaton’s purchased the Goodwin’s store in Montreal. By 1927, Montreal boasted a new six-storey Eaton’s store on Saint Catherine Street, which was expanded to nine storeys in 1930. Over time, Eaton’s stores opened in other cities across the country. The Bay on Saint Catherine Street next to the Christ Church Cathedral Place des Arts Saint Catherine Street (officially rue Sainte-Catherine) is the primary commercial artery of downtown Montreal. ...


In 1977, the crown jewel of the Eaton's empire, the Toronto Eaton Centre, opened in downtown Toronto, replacing two previous downtown Eaton's stores. The massive complex — stretching 400 m on several levels from Dundas to Queen Street and boasting 200 stores — was anchored at the north end by an immense nine-storey Eaton's. The Toronto Eaton Centre is a large shopping mall and office complex in downtown Toronto, Ontario Canada, named after the now-defunct Eatons department store chain. ...


The Eaton’s catalogue

Eaton's Fall & Winter 1972 catalogue.
Eaton's Fall & Winter 1972 catalogue.

The first Eaton's catalogue was a simple 34-page booklet, issued in 1884. Inside the front cover was the declaration: “Owing to the immense increase in our Mail Order Department, we find it has become a necessity to issue a catalogue of this style, and even this is incomplete, in that it contains only a limited description of the stock, and therefore does not give you a correct idea as to the immense varieties and extensive stock carried by us”. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (862x1285, 225 KB) Summary Photo taken by Michael Stewart on October 1, 2005. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (862x1285, 225 KB) Summary Photo taken by Michael Stewart on October 1, 2005. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Mail order. ...


As Eaton’s grew, so did the catalogue. By 1920, Eaton’s operated mail order warehouses in Winnipeg, Toronto and Moncton to serve its catalogue customers. Catalogue order offices were also established throughout the country, with the first opening in Oakville in 1916. For other uses, see Moncton (disambiguation). ... Oakville (2006 population 165,613[2]) is a town on Lake Ontario in southern Ontario, Canada, midway between Toronto (about 31 km or 19 mi away) on its eastern border and Hamilton (about 20 km or 12 mi away) from its western border. ...


To many, the catalogue became known as the Homesteader's Bible or the Wishing Book. It was often said that only two books mattered in a typical Canadian home: the family Bible and the Eaton's catalogue. At a time when Canada’s population was predominantly rural, often living in isolated settlements, the Eaton’s catalogue provided a selection of goods that was otherwise unavailable to many Canadians. Moreover, it served an important economic role, as it broke local monopolies and allowed all Canadians access to the prices and selection enjoyed in some of the larger cities. The catalogue offered everything from clothing to farming implements. Some Canadians even purchased their homes from the catalogue, with Eaton’s delivering to them all the materials necessary to build a small, prefabricated house. Today, a large number of “Eaton’s catalogue homes” still exist throughout the country, primarily in the West. The catalogue had many other uses, ranging from its use as a learning tool by settlers learning to speak English, to its use as goalie pads during pond hockey games[3].


The catalogue became an icon of Canadian culture, even appearing in many works of Canadian literature. The most famous example, in Roch Carrier's story "The Hockey Sweater," a young Quebec boy asks his mother for a Montreal Canadiens hockey jersey from the Eaton's catalogue, but receives a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey instead. As the family is francophone, the mother does not order using the catalogue forms but instead writes a note and sends money to the department store. Due to the prevalent language and cultural barriers of the English- and French-speaking Canadian populations, his family is unaware that the item could be exchanged, and they do not wish to offend Mr. Eaton by returning it. Canadian literature may be divided into two parts, based on their separate roots: one stems from the culture and literature from France; the other from Britain. ... Roch Carrier (born May 13, 1937) is a celebrated French-Canadian novelist and author of contes (a very brief form of the short story). ... Book cover The Hockey Sweater (Le chandail de hockey in the original French) is a short story published in 1979 by Quebec author Roch Carrier. ... This article is about the Canadian province. ... The Montreal Canadians (French: ) are a professional mens hockey team based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. ... For other uses, see Toronto Maple Leafs (disambiguation). ...


Over time, the catalogue became a less profitable operation, and by the 1970s, it was a money-losing proposition. As Canada’s population became more urban over the course of the 20th century, Canadians had access to a greater number of local stores, and were less reliant on catalogue purchases. By the mid-1970s, it was estimated that 60% of the suburban customers throughout Canada lived within a thirty-minute drive of an Eaton’s store. Others, however, blamed Eaton’s management for the catalogue’s failures, pointing to the similar Simpsons-Sears catalogue (now the Sears Canada catalogue), which continues to this day even though it has never enjoyed the iconic status or popularity of the Eaton’s catalogue. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ... Sears Canada Inc. ...


At a news conference on January 14, 1976, Eaton’s announced that the 1976 spring-summer catalogue would be the last. 9000 mail-order employees were out of work. Many Canadians were in shock. In one notable incident, Barbara Frum of CBC Radio’s As It Happens opened her interview of Eaton’s president Earl Orser with the question “Mr. Orser, how could you?” is the 14th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1976 Pick up sticks(MCMLXXVI) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Barbara Frum Barbara Frum, OC , BA , LL.D (September 8, 1937 – March 26, 1992) was one of Canadas most respected and influential journalists, a legendary news anchor for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. ... CBC Radio is the English language radio division of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. ... As It Happens is a long-running interview show on CBC Radio One in Canada. ... Earl Herbert Orser, C.M., B.Com. ...


The Santa Claus Parade

Eaton's Santa Claus Parade, 1918, Toronto, Canada. Having arrived at the Eaton's store, Santa is readying his ladder to climb up onto the building.
Eaton's Santa Claus Parade, 1918, Toronto, Canada. Having arrived at the Eaton's store, Santa is readying his ladder to climb up onto the building.

Eaton sponsored the annual Toronto Santa Claus Parade. The first parade took place on December 2, 1905. For a number of years, Eaton’s Santa Claus Parades were also held in Winnipeg and Montreal. Macy’s in New York started its own annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924 due largely to the success of the Eaton’s parades north of the border. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1022x832, 291 KB) Summary Eatons Santa Claus Parade, 1918, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1022x832, 291 KB) Summary Eatons Santa Claus Parade, 1918, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... Eatons Santa Claus Parade, 1918, Toronto, Canada. ... is the 336th day of the year (337th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see 1905 (disambiguation). ...


By the 1950s, the Toronto parade was the largest in North America, stretching for a mile and a half and involving thousands of participants. It was broadcast live on radio and television in Canada, and even CBS television in the United States broadcast the parade for a number of years. This article is about the broadcast network. ...


In August 1982, Eaton’s announced that it would no longer sponsor the Santa Claus Parade, due to increasing costs. A consortium of local businesses saved the parade, which continues to be held every year, but another cherished Eaton’s institution was gone.


Eaton’s in Quebec

Long before Eaton’s established its first Quebec store, it reached out to its francophone customers in Quebec and other parts of Canada at a time when it was uncommon for large anglophone businesses to do so. This article or section does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


In 1899, francophone catalogue customers were publicly invited to contact Eaton’s in French, although a number of them had been doing so for years. In 1927, Eaton’s published its first all-French catalogue. In the Montreal store, sales staff were predominantly bilingual, with advertising, posters and signs appearing in both English and French.


Nonetheless, by the early 1960s, Eaton’s was seen by many in the emerging Quebec nationalist movement as a symbol of English Canadian hegemony. It was, for instance, at Eaton's stores that some francophone Quebeckers were reportedly told to "speak white," in turn inspiring another famous work of Quebec literature, Michèle Lalonde's poem Speak White. As a consequence, Eaton's stores in Quebec dropped the English possessive in the chain's name, becoming simply Eaton. A few years later it undertook a major effort to woo French language Quebeckers, by increasing the number of francophone staff, increasing the predominance of the French language on store signage, and spending millions on marketing efforts in the French-language media. A similar effort was made by The Bay (la Baie), the other formerly "Anglo" chain in Quebec. As a result, Eaton's and The Bay grew and grew again in Quebec all through the late 1960s and 1970s by taking a large part of the customer base which had formerly gone to "French-only" department stores such as Sauvé and Dupuis, which eventually closed down. Nationalism is an ideology that creates and sustains a nation as a concept of a common identity for groups of humans. ... Hegemony (pronounced [])[1] (Greek: ) is a concept that has been used to describe the existence of dominance of one social group over another, such that the ruling group -- referred to as a hegemon -- acquires some degree of consent from the subordinate, as opposed to dominance purely by force. ... Speak White was an insult used by Anglos against Francophones in Canada when the Francophone were speaking French in public. ... For other uses, see Bay (disambiguation). ...


Decline

Unsuccessful expansion

In the 1970s, Eaton's tried to expand its reach in Canadian retailing by opening a chain of discount or "junior" department stores called Horizon. The Horizon chain was closed in 1978. Three of its stores were converted to Eaton's stores, and the others were shuttered.


In the 1970s and 1980s, through the provincial government's Ontario Downtown Renewal Programme, Eaton's was a partner in the development of downtown malls in smaller cities, intended to foster the revitalization of urban cores. As the chain formed the anchor of many of these shopping centres, these often carried the "Eaton Centre" name. Nearly all these malls — in cities such as Sarnia, Brantford and Guelph — had high vacancy rates and poor patronage, and contributed to the store's financial problems[4]. Interior of the Toronto Eaton Centre, looking south. ... Interior of the Toronto Eaton Centre, looking south. ... Sarnia is a city in Southwestern Ontario, Canada (city population 71,419, census area population 88,793, in 2006). ... Brantford (2001 population 86,417)[1] is a city located on the Grand River in southwestern Ontario, Canada. ... Nickname: Motto: Faith, Fidelity and Progress Coordinates: , Country Canada Province Ontario County Wellington County City Wards There are 6 Wards Founded April 23, 1827 Incorporated April 23, 1879 Government  - Mayor Karen Farbridge (elected November 2006)  - Governing Body Guelph City Council  - MPs Brenda Chamberlain (LPC)  - MPPs Liz Sandals (OLP) Area  - City...


Suburban competition

The economic recession of the early 1980s hurt the company. The consolidation of department store retailers in the 1970s and 1980s gave rise to national competitors such as the Hudson's Bay Company, Sears Canada and Zellers, all of whom took market share from Eaton’s. By the 1990s, American retailers, most notably Wal-Mart, were expanding into Canada, and Eaton’s found it increasingly difficult to compete. Hudsons Bay Company (HBC; Compagnie de la Baie dHudson in French) is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and is one of the oldest in the world. ... Sears Canada Inc. ... Zellers Inc. ... Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ...


Retailing and land use trends in the last decades of the 20th century did not favour Eaton’s. Traditional department stores, including (but not limited to) Eaton’s, commanded an ever-shrinking share of the Canadian retail dollar, as big box stores, such as Wal-Mart and Zellers, and specialty stores (the so-called “category killers”) expanded their respective shares of retail sales. With the advent of urban sprawl, most Canadian downtown shopping districts (which were historically dominated by Eaton's) had to increasingly share the retail sales pie with growing suburban shopping areas (where Eaton’s was just one of many competitors). Big box store is a colloquial term used to describe a retail store housed in a rectangular, one-floor building with a high ceiling. ... Category killer is a term used in marketing and strategic management to describe a product, service, brand, or company that has such a distinct sustainable competitive advantage that competing firms find it almost impossible to operate profitably in that industry. ...


Family management

Eaton’s difficulties, however, were not all caused by external forces. Poor management by the last two generations of Eaton family members to run the chain certainly contributed to the demise of Eaton’s.


Stores that once served as landmarks in their respective communities were not renovated. New Eaton’s stores built since the 1960s were largely indistinguishable from other chain stores, further reducing Eaton’s status as a destination store.


The end of the catalogue and of the Eaton’s Santa Claus parades, though being cost-saving measures, helped to sever the emotional links between Canadians and the Eaton’s chain.


The chain that had touted itself in the 1940s and 1950s as “The Store for Young Canada” lost touch with younger customers, and unintentionally became known as a chain that catered to older shoppers. Once known for its superior customer service (with its staff proudly known as "Eatonians"), Eaton's began to cut back on sales staff and training in an effort to trim costs. A chain that had once prided itself on its buying offices throughout the globe and on the unique and diverse goods that it offered its customers had, by the latter half of the twentieth century, an antiquated supply chain and a haphazard and confused approach to merchandising. One apocryphal tale states that once the women of the Eaton family stopped shopping at Eaton’s, the chain was doomed.


In one particularly disastrous move, Eaton’s moved to an “Everyday Value Pricing” strategy (also known as "Eaton Value") in 1991, which meant that all discounts and sales, including Eaton’s famous Trans-Canada Sale, were eliminated. The strategy quickly drove away customers, but was inexplicably continued for four years before it was abandoned.


In 1997, seeing the apparent success of The Bay in higher-end retailing, Eaton's lured their chief executive George Kosich over to try to duplicate the strategy. Hudson's Bay Company filed a lawsuit saying that Kosich had violated his employment contract. Eaton's had also sued HBC for poaching several of its executives; apparently HBC had done this in retaliation for the hiring of Kosich. Aside from that controversy, the new retailing strategy was not only unsuccessful, it also gave rival Sears Canada the opportunity to move up to the market segment long dominated by Eaton's. Kosich resigned in 1998 and was replaced by chairman Brent Ballantyne.[5] For other uses, see Bay (disambiguation). ... Hudsons Bay Company (HBC; Compagnie de la Baie dHudson in French) is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and is one of the oldest in the world. ...


Bankruptcy

An Eaton's shopping bag, circa 1997.
An Eaton's shopping bag, circa 1997.

The chain, which controlled almost 60% of all department store sales in Canada in 1930, had been reduced to a market share of 10.6% in 1997. The T. Eaton Co. Limited first filed for bankruptcy protection in 1997. At the time, the company had an estimated 24 500 employees and over 90 retail outlets. The plan was to close 31 underperforming stores, including two-thirds of its stores in Alberta. However, Eaton's limited the number of store closures to 20. George Eaton, the last of the family to be involved in management, resigned as chief executive in 1997, being succeeded by George Kosich. In September of that year, creditors approved the restructuring plan. Image File history File links EatonsShoppingBag1997. ... Image File history File links EatonsShoppingBag1997. ... George Eaton was a Formula One driver from Canada. ...


In 1998, George Eaton resigned as chairman of the board and was succeeded by Brent Ballantyne, under whom the company was taken public for the first time in its history, issuing 11.7 million common shares at $15 each, while the Eaton family retained control with a 51 percent stake.[6]


The chain finally folded in 1999 after operating for 130 years. Though it had reduced its retail outlets to 64, it finished 1998 with a net loss of $72 million, and it announced further closures and a corporate restructuring plan. This was unsuccessful and the company went bankrupt in August 1999.


Acquisition by Sears

Eaton's logo as a division of Sears Canada

Eaton's corporate assets were acquired by Sears Canada in a $50-million deal. Sears purchased all the shares of T. Eaton Co., eight of its stores, with the option to buy five more, and the Eaton's name, trademarks, brands, and Web site. For the first time in its history, Sears held the leases to a number of prime locations in Toronto (Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Mall), Vancouver (Pacific Centre), Victoria, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Calgary (all former Eaton's stores). Sears had intended to obtain the former downtown Montreal store, although it lost out to the incumbent Les Ailes de la Mode. Image File history File links Eatons_logo. ... Image File history File links Eatons_logo. ... Sears Canada Inc. ... Sears Canada Inc. ... Complexe Les Ailes is a major retail and office complex on Saint Catherine Street in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada. ...


Sears Canada closed some Eaton's stores, converted others to Sears stores, sold others to The Bay, and kept a number of downtown stores with the intention of relaunching eatons in 2000 as a more high-end, modern brand, with a lowercase "e" in a circle as its logo and a splashy ad campaign built around the colour aubergine. Sears also launched an eatons catalogue, with the intent to complement Sears' moderate catalogue assortment with something more upscale and urban. According to Rick Brown, senior vice president for strategic initiatives at Sears Canada, merchandise was supposed to be priced above the level of Sears Canada and The Bay, but below Holt Renfrew. For other uses, see Bay (disambiguation). ... Eggplant is a brownish-purple color that resembles eggplants and was introduced by Crayola in 1998, but the Crayola color eggplant is less saturated (more of a grayish red-violet color). ... For other uses, see Bay (disambiguation). ... Holt Renfrew is a chain of high-end Canadian department stores. ...


In actuality, however, Sears had trouble securing name brand merchandise consistent with the image of the new chain. This was mainly because of Eaton's bankruptcy. It was also because of doubt in Sears' ability to manage an upper-end chain, since until recently their merchandise was of lower price and quality compared to the old Eaton's and The Bay. George Heller, then-president of rival department store The Bay, publicly warned vendors not to supply the new eatons with merchandise. Many mid-to-upper tier brands, particularly in clothing, feared reprisal and avoided the new eatons. George Heller is the current president and CEO of Hudsons Bay Company. ... For other uses, see Bay (disambiguation). ...


The entire overhaul was planned beyond Sears' abilities- less than 8 months to open the new eatons, while managing Sears at the same time. The new eatons was scheduled to open September 1, 2000, but was pushed back three times, eventually opening November 25. Consequently, eatons had missed much of the lucrative holiday season and opened with merchandise already marked down. Construction was also haphazard; all stores opened unfinished and renovations would continue well into 2001.


Consequently, the seven-store experiment was not particularly successful, and Sears Canada President Paul Walters was forced to resign. He was replaced by a former rival and Sears Roebuck executive from the U.S., Mark Cohen, who prioritized Sears over eatons and cut back aggressively on markdown strategies. By March 2001 Sears announces they were ceasing publication of the newly resurrected eatons catalogue "due to a lack of interest". Although Mark Cohen officially announced the eatons chain saw an impressive rebound in June 2001, by 2002 he retired the "eatons" name. This was the same time that Walters had previously forecast expansion for the new eatons, growing to 14 stores across Canada. It converted the remaining stores to Sears, including the flagship Eaton Centre store located at the Toronto Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto. Paul Walters (June 15, 1947 - October 21, 2006) was a BBC radio and TV producer, most noted for his work and appearances on Sir Terry Wogans BBC Radio 2 breakfast, where he was known to millions as Dr Wally. Walters was born in Wheathampstead, Hertfordshire, where he grew up. ... For information on the fictional character Mark Cohen, see RENT Mark R. Cohen is a Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. ... The Toronto Eaton Centre is a large shopping mall and office complex in downtown Toronto, Ontario Canada, named after the now-defunct Eatons department store chain. ...


Legacy

Eaton's transformed retailing in Canada, and its methods were eagerly adopted by retailers throughout the world. Many approaches to sales and service that are taken for granted by customers today were originally popularised by Timothy Eaton and his store. There was a time when Eaton's represented the cutting edge of retail and could virtually dictate retail trends and customs both to its customers and competitors.


Many Canadians, particularly older Canadians, have fond memories of the Eaton’s stores and the catalogue. Few defunct companies evoke the same strong emotions among Canadians as does Eaton’s.


Although the Eaton's chain is no more, several shopping centres in Canada continue to be called Eaton Centres, most notably the Toronto Eaton Centre, the Centre Eaton in downtown Montreal and the Calgary Eaton Centre. In fact, the Toronto Eaton Centre is the number one tourist attraction in Toronto, with over one million visitors a week. The fact that one of North America’s top shopping and tourist destinations is located on this stretch of Yonge Street is due, in large part, to Timothy Eaton’s original decision in the 19th century to establish his store at this location. (For more details about Eaton Centre malls across Canada, see Eaton Centre). The Toronto Eaton Centre is a large shopping mall and office complex in downtown Toronto, Ontario Canada, named after the now-defunct Eatons department store chain. ... The Centre Eaton is a popular mall located in the heart of downtown Montreal. ... Calgary Eaton Centre is an urban shopping centre located along Stephen Avenue in the downtown core of Calgary, Alberta. ... Interior of the Toronto Eaton Centre, looking south. ...


Architecture

Eaton’s also leaves an architectural legacy, primarily through the work of the architecture firm Ross and Macdonald. Eaton’s College Street in Toronto, opened in 1930, is an Art Deco masterpiece, and is currently used as a retail, office and residential complex. The famous Seventh Floor, occupied by the Eaton Auditorium and the Round Room restaurant, was recently restored and now operates as “The Carlu” event venue. In 1971, a large skyscraper near Eaton's College Street was proposed by Eaton's and a developer named John Maryon, but it was never built. Ross and Macdonald was one of Canadas most notable architecture firms in the early 20th century. ... College Park College Park is a shopping mall, residential and office complex located on the southwest corner of Yonge Street and College Street in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... Asheville City Hall. ... The Carlu is a historic event space in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... A rendering of the 140 storey John Maryon Tower. ...


Similarly, the former Eaton’s store in Montreal, also designed by Ross and Macdonald, remains a landmark on Saint Catherine Street, and is currently occupied by a large shopping mall. After being closed for several years following Eaton's bankruptcy, the famous 9th floor restaurant in the downtown Montreal store was recently restored by Fournier, Gersovitz, Moss et associés, a Montreal architectural firm. It is protected as a registered historical site, because of its rich Art deco design. Complexe Les Ailes is a major retail and office complex on Saint Catherine Street in downtown Montreal, Quebec, Canada. ... The Montreal Eaton 9th floor restaurant is an Art deco landmark in Montreal. ... Asheville City Hall. ...


Another Ross and Macdonald-designed landmark, the former Eaton's store in downtown Saskatoon, now serves as the offices of the Saskatoon Board of Education. The long-time downtown Calgary store, designed by Ross and Macdonald in the 1920s, was largely demolished in 1988, although two facades were preserved and incorporated into a new Holt Renfrew store as part of the Calgary Eaton Centre redevelopment. Holt Renfrew is a chain of high-end Canadian department stores. ...


The original downtown Vancouver store, on Hastings Street, also remains and now serves as the downtown "Harbour Centre" campus of Simon Fraser University. Some Vancouver residents associate this heritage building with the Spencer's Department Store (which commissioned the construction of the store), rather than Eaton's (which bought Spencer's in 1948 and occupied the store until the 1970s). In fact, the former Eaton's store is today known as the "Spencer Building". This article refers to the city in British Columbia, Canada. ... Simon Fraser University (SFU) is located on Burnaby Mountain in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, part of the metropolitan area of Vancouver, British Columbia. ... David Spencer Limited (commonly known as Spencers) operated a department store chain in the province of British Columbia, Canada during the late 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. ...


Not all former Eaton’s stores are architectural landmarks: the stores constructed from the 1960s onwards were typically architecturally inferior to their predecessors. Notably, the exterior of the Toronto Eaton Centre store can best be described as a mustard-coloured box, and is generally considered (from an architectural perspective) to be a poor replacement for the demolished Main Store. Designed in the style of the 1970s and intended at that time to be a statement of Eaton's dominance and its future aspirations, the "modern" design of this behemoth has not aged well (despite efforts by Sears Canada in 1999-2000 to improve the look of the building facades). Similarly, the main Vancouver store, connected to the downtown Pacific Centre mall, was also built in the 1970s as a large, white box. Pacific Centre is a shopping mall in Vancouver, British Columbia. ...


After the demise of Eaton’s, most stores were quietly converted to other retail banners or other uses, with the downtown Winnipeg store generating the most controversy. When the store was emptied in late 1999, various alternative uses for the building (including residential condominiums) were considered, and ultimately all rejected. After a highly emotional civic debate, which included a “group hug” of the “Big Store” by hundreds of people in 2001, the store was demolished in 2002 to make way for a hockey arena, the MTS Centre. In one concession to history, red bricks were incorporated into the design of the arena façade, evoking the memory of the Eaton’s store that had once graced Portage Avenue. An original store window and Tyndall stone surround is mounted in the arena concourse to house a collection of Eaton's memorabilia. The MTS Centre is an indoor arena at 300 Portage Avenue in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the former Eatons site. ...


Timothy Eaton Statue

Happily, Timothy Eaton still watches over Winnipeggers and Torontonians. In 1919, two life-sized statues of Timothy Eaton were donated by Eaton's employees to the Toronto and Winnipeg stores, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the company. For years, these two statues greeted shoppers and it was tradition for customers in both Toronto and Winnipeg to rub the toe of the statue for good luck. Toronto bronze statue of Timothy Eaton in 1919. ...

Toronto bronze statue of Timothy Eaton in 1919. This statue now sits in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and another casting sits in the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.
Toronto bronze statue of Timothy Eaton in 1919. This statue now sits in the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto, and another casting sits in the MTS Centre in Winnipeg.

The Toronto statue is now exhibited in the Royal Ontario Museum. The Winnipeg statue was housed in the suburban Polo Park mall for a few years after 1999, until the Hudson's Bay Company opened a Bay store at that location and wanted the statue of its former competitor removed. After a tussle with the Eaton family, who wanted to move the statue to St Marys, Ontario, the Manitoba government declared it a provincial heritage object. It now sits in the city's new arena, the MTS Centre, one floor up from nearly the same spot where it stood in the old store. Museum-goers in Toronto and hockey fans in Winnipeg continue to rub Timothy’s toe for luck. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (850x1071, 436 KB) Summary Bronze statue of Timothy Eaton in 1919. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (850x1071, 436 KB) Summary Bronze statue of Timothy Eaton in 1919. ... Toronto bronze statue of Timothy Eaton in 1919. ... The Royal Ontario Museum, commonly known as the ROM (rhyming with Tom), is a major museum for world culture and natural history in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... The MTS Centre is an indoor arena at 300 Portage Avenue in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the former Eatons site. ... The Royal Ontario Museum, commonly known as the ROM (rhyming with Tom), is a major museum for world culture and natural history in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. ... Hudsons Bay Company (HBC; Compagnie de la Baie dHudson in French) is the oldest commercial corporation in North America and is one of the oldest in the world. ... Motto: Gloriosus et Liber (Latin: Glorious and free) Capital Winnipeg Largest city Winnipeg Official languages English French (de facto) Government Lieutenant-Governor John Harvard Premier Gary Doer (NDP) Federal representation in Canadian Parliament House seats 14 Senate seats 6 Confederation July 15, 1870 (5th) Area  Ranked 8th Total 647,797... The MTS Centre is an indoor arena at 300 Portage Avenue in downtown Winnipeg, Manitoba, at the former Eatons site. ...


See also

// This is a list of department stores. ...

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
Eaton's

Image File history File links Commons-logo. ...

References

  • Anderson, Carol and Mallison, Katharine, Lunch With Lady Eaton: Inside the Dining Rooms of a Nation, Toronto: ECW Press, 2004.
  • Eaton, Flora McCrea, Memory's Wall, Toronto: Clarke, Irwin & Company, 1956.
  • Gourluck, Russ, A Store Like No Other: Eaton's of Winnipeg, Winnipeg: Great Plains Publications, 2004.
  • Macpherson, Mary-Etta, Shopkeepers to a Nation, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1963.
  • McQueen, Rod, The Eatons: The Rise and Fall of Canada's Royal Family, Toronto: Stoddart, 1998.
  • Nasmith, George G., Timothy Eaton, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1923.
  • Phenix, Patricia, Eatonians: The Story of the Family Behind the Family, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 2003.
  • Santink, Joy L., Timothy Eaton and the Rise of His Department Store, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1990.
  • Scribe, The, Golden Jubilee 1869-1919: A Book to Commemorate the Fiftieth Anniversary of the T. Eaton Co. Limited, Toronto: The T. Eaton Co. Limited, 1919.
  • Staib, Kay, ed. Eaton 100: 1869 – 1969, A Special Centennial Edition of Eaton Quarterly, Toronto: Eaton’s Consumer and Corporate Affairs, 1969.
  • Staib, Kay, ed., The Dreams of Man – The Toronto Eaton Centre, Toronto: Eaton’s Consumer and Corporate Affairs, 1977.
  • Stephenson, William, The Store That Timothy Built, Toronto: McClelland and Stewart Limited, 1969.
  1. ^ The Canadian Encyclopedia - Eaton, Timothy
  2. ^ http://technology.canoe.ca/Gazin/2006/12/22/2932529-ca.html
  3. ^ January 9 - January 15
  4. ^ MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN ONTARIO RETAILING
  5. ^ Eaton's CEO resigns
  6. ^ Western Libraries - Business Library

  Results from FactBites:
 
Eaton's: The History and Legacy of a Canadian (897 words)
Timothy Eaton had made his first foray into the retail business that was to earn him a place as one of Canada's greatest businessmen, and earn his company a place in the history of the nation.
Mr Eaton was born in 1834 in Ballymena, Northern Ireland, of Protestant Scottish ancestry.
John Craig Eaton, the son and eventual heir of Timothy Eaton, was largely responsible for expanding the Eaton’s business from its Toronto birthplace and the of building a combined store and mail order operation in Winnipeg in 1907.
Eaton Gliders (675 words)
Formed in 1869, Eatons were one of the first large Canadian owned Department stores, but of course one factor hindered their growth, Canada is a very large country, and its small population was very widespread.
The Eatons catalogue became a way of life for Canadian families throughout the early decades, and absolutely everything was available from it.
Eatons were unheard of in the U.K. until the advent of the Internet and the popularity of E-Bay.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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