RETAIL TRADE: Hub of the Hub

No lantern was needed in the Old North Church to signal the news. This week, as the first of 50 trucks from Texas pulled into Boston, housewives were as eager as so many Paul Reveres to gallop down to the "Automatic Bargain Basement" of Wm. Filene's Sons Co.

Filene's, which could sniff a bargain halfway across the continent, had bought $1,400,000 worth of merchandise damaged in a fire at Dallas' Neiman-Marcus Co. three months ago. In beating out about six other bidders, Filene's had pulled off one of the biggest "fire sale" coups in U.S. merchandising history.

The goods, for which Filene's...

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