RETAIL TRADE: The General's General Store

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As chairman of the board of Sears, Roebuck & Co., Robert Elkington Wood, 72, runs the biggest general store in the world. Last year Sears, Roebuck sold the astronomical number of 500,000,000 separate items—everything from a one-ounce sewing bobbin to a 2,200-lb.brooder house. But the biggest mail-order seller of all was, as usual, diapers. To Merchandiser Wood, this fact is significant. It illustrates his motto that a "business, to stay healthy, must grow with the nation."*

To keep abreast of the soaring U.S. birth rate, Wood took a cool and calculated...

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