Business: Shoes Up

For 17 years big Melville Shoe Corp. (No. 1 U. S. shoe retailer; sales: 10,000,000 pairs of shoes, 12,000,000 pairs of socks) and J. F. McElwain Co., Nashua, N. H., shoemaker, have got along fine. The arrangement between them has been that Melville contracts to take most (now 92%) of McElwain's yearly output, to be sold through its 652 Thom McAn chain stores. Under the plan the factory sold shoes to the distributor at cost, took a percentage of net profits from sales. This streamlined combine, which eliminated all conflict between the two main...

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