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The Hartfords hope that their empire will outlast themselves, and have set up a line of succession. They have put their own two-fifths of A & P stock in a foundation, and made A & P's President Ralph Burger one of its trustees.* Thus Burger, who started with A & P 40 years ago and drove one of the red tea wagons, will run the company providing the owners of the other 60% of stock agree. The chances are they will, unless the trustbusters succeed in breaking it up.
Low Profits. There was little doubt that if A & P were broken up, the price of food would rise in many places. A & P kept prices down only because the family-owned company had always been content with low profits. On last year's sales of $2.9 billion, the net profit was $33.3 million, only 1.1% of sales (v. 11.5% of sales for General Motors). Furthermore, seven smaller companies could not effect the savings made under A & P's mass buying and manufacturing methods.
Says Mr. John: "I don't know any grocer or anybody else who wants to stay small. They all dream about building something bigger. The whole country's growingour cities, schools, labor unions, everything. I don't see how any businessman can limit his growth and stay healthy."
* Under the trust, all five children shared alike in A & P's profits. Total profits paid out to date have exceeded $300 million, and the property is now worth more than $250 million. Of this, John and George own 40%. The remaining 60% is owned by the children of Edward, Maria Josephine and Marie Louise (all deceased). Edward's two children, George Huntington Hartford II and Mrs. Josephine Bryce, own 10% each, as do Mrs. Joseph Mclntosh and Mrs. Marie Robinson, daughters of Marie Louise. Another 20% is owned by Maria Josephine's heirs. * The others: John Hartford, Frank McKelvey (John's brother-in-law), Sheldon Stewart and Herbert Ludlum (their first cousin).