Corporations: The Impatient Shoemaker

When a well-heeled Manhattanite who knows her high fashion goes shopping for footwear, she might choose between three of New York's fanciest shoe salons—I. Miller, Henri Bendel, and the Delman Salon at Bergdorf Goodman. What she probably does not know is that all three are operated by the same manufacturing and retailing giant—Genesco, Inc., of Nashville, Tenn.

Starting out as just one of the South's many shoemakers, Genesco has grown pell-mell since 1938 by buying up 46 companies. Today it operates 80 factories in 17 states, manufactures 51 brands of shoes from Flagg...

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