CORPORATIONS: Pattern for Success

In a Los Angeles department store, a salesgirl took from her purse a paper bearing the letters V, M, B and S. Beside each, she scribbled numbers, then mailed the sheet to Manhattan's Simplicity Pattern Co. She was reporting on dress-pattern sales in her department — strictly as a favor to the flattering Simplicity salesman who had presented her with a smile and a shiny silver compact. In 100 key U.S. stores, other girls did Simplicity a like favor.

Last week in Manhattan, Simplicity's President Joseph Michael Shapiro, 58, who is cut to a short, chunky pattern, added up the...

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