STATE OF BUSINESS: The Welcome War

A shopper pushed her way into Macy's department store in Manhattan one day last week, panted out orders to her children: "Bobby, you go to the Mixmasters; Helen, you take the escalator and line up at the Hopalong Cassidys, and I'll get in line to buy papa a suit." Like thousands of others, the mother & children were cashing in on the biggest price war in the history of New York retailing.

The rush into the store was so great that customers tried to push through the "In" and "Out" side of a...

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