Corporations: Glittering Jewel

A decade ago, Jewel Tea Co. consisted of little more than a chain of Chicago-area supermarkets. Then it began branching into other lines and locations. Renamed the Jewel Companies, it has grown into a diverse, sprawling operation that Wall Street analysts now call a "retail conglomerate." Only too happy to shed the food-chain label, Jewel President Donald S. Perkins, 41, prefers to think of his new-look company as a general merchandiser serving "whatever needs the consumer may have."

In addition to operating 371 supermarkets across the U.S., Jewel now serves those needs...