RETAILING: Mr. Avery's Ex-Men

Akin to Hollywood's picture business is the business of retailing. Glossy, high-priced executives move from store to store, accompanied by troops of favorite underlings. Terms like "genius," "snake," "megalomaniac," are indiscriminately applied. Last week, in the gossipy lianas of the trade, the No. 2 U. S. retailer of general merchandise was getting more than his share of epithets. His name: Sewell Lee Avery, chairman of Montgomery Ward.

When Sewell Avery (then and still head of U. S. Gypsum) was put in charge of Montgomery Ward in 1931, it was almost two-thirds as big as Sears, Roebuck (in sales), but losing money....

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