BANKRUPTCIES: Debacle for A Discounter

Debacle for A Discounter

A retail match made in heaven suddenly crashed to earth last week. Ames Department Stores (fiscal 1989 sales: $3.4 billion) declared bankruptcy under Chapter 11 as the result of lingering complications from its 1988 acquisition of the Zayre chain. Before the merger, the Connecticut-based Ames had been a thriving retailer renowned for its management acuity. When the company bought the 392-store Zayre chain for $800 million, Ames closed many unsuccessful outlets and introduced more national brands. But Zayre's patrons, who were used to periodic deep markdowns, disliked the new Ames policy of everyday low prices. Customer loyalty was further eroded when...

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