About Quizzes

Montgomery Ward

Aaron Montgomery Ward was a traveling salesman who noticed that rural residents desired goods not available in their hometowns. So he began a mail-order business in Chicago and sent out his first single-sheet price list in August 1872. Ward had a slow start, but his business took off after he coined the slogan, “satisfaction guaranteed or your money back,” in 1875. In 1883 the “Wish Book,” as it came to be known, had grown to 240 pages with more than 10,000 items. It was not until 1896 that Ward experienced his first serious competition, Sears, Roebuck and Co., which managed to surpass Ward's business in 1900. Ward's first retail store opened in 1926 and three years later it boasted 531 stores. In 1968, the company merged with Container Corporation of America to form Marcor Inc., which was acquired by Mobil Oil in 1976. In 1985, the company discontinued catalog operations. In 1988, management pulled off a $3.8 billion leveraged buyout and resumed the mail-order catalog in 1991. Six years later, the company filed for bankruptcy. GE Capital Services purchased Montgomery Ward in 1999 and brought it out of bankruptcy. In 2000, however, Montgomery Ward announced bankruptcy again and shuttered 250 stores in 30 states.