Definitions

bullock's heart tree

Bullock's

Bullock's was a department store based in Los Angeles, California. The company operated full-line department stores all across California, with some stores in Arizona and Nevada. Bullock's also operated the more upscale Bullocks Wilshire in parts of Southern California.

History

Bullock's was founded in 1907 at Seventh & Broadway in downtown Los Angeles by John G. Bullock, with the support of The Broadway Department Store owner Arthur Letts. In 1923, Bullock and business partner P.G. Winnett bought out Letts' interest after his death and the companies became completely separated. In 1929 Bullock & Winnett opened a luxury branch on Wilshire Boulevard, named, appropriately enough Bullock's Wilshire.

In 1944 Bullock's acquired I. Magnin & Co., a venerable, San Francisco-based upscale specialty chain. This was followed by the acquisition of the then public-owned Bullock's/I. Magnin organization in 1964 by Federated Department Stores, much to the dismay of surviving founder P.G. Winnett, who publicly lambasted the deal (which was initiated by his own son-in-law Bullock's President Walter W. Candy Jr.). In the 1970's, to differentiate itself from the full-line Bullock's stores, the very exclusive Wilshire location dropped its apostrophe, became Bullocks Wilshire and began its own expansion.

Bullock's, Bullocks Wilshire, and I. Magnin retained their autonomy under Federated, as well as their carriage-trade niche, with I. Magnin expanding into the Chicago and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas and Bullock's opening stores in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Northern California. In 1983 however, Federated shuttered the Bullock's North division and sold most of its locations to a Seattle, Washington upstart: Nordstrom. In 1988, after an ugly takeover battle between Robert Campeau and Macy's for Federated, Bullock's and I. Magnin were sold by Campeau to Macy's as a consolation prize for one billion dollars, which plunged Macy's into debt. The new owners responded by dismantling Bullock's Los Angeles corporate offices, merging Bullocks Wilshire into I. Magnin, and Bullock's into its Macy's South division, thus sending what had been Federated's most profitable division into a precipitous decline and alienating the local customers.

The end came quickly for Bullock's after Macy's filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992, with the Bullocks Wilshire stores being renamed I. Magnin two years before. I. Magnin and Bullock's were pruned of their underperforming branches, and I. Magnin itself was dissolved in January 1995 once Federated Department Stores reappeared on the scene and acquired Macy's. In 1996 following the acquisition of Broadway Stores, Inc., Federated consolidated all its traditional department store business in California under the Macy's nameplate, ending 89 years of Bullock's.

Luxury market

Although the Bullocks Wilshire stores was deemed the most exclusive, the full-line Bullock's stores offered upscale designers such as Giorgio Armani, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Missoni, Krizia, Valentino, Salvatore Ferragamo, Byblos, Hugo Boss and Gieves & Hawkes. Under Federated most every of the 22 Bullock's offered consistent designer offerings by location, a key to the company's profit and success (exceptions were the Lakewood, West Covina, Carlsbad and Grossmont locations); after Macy's South acquired the company the focus centered on South Coast Plaza, Sherman Oaks and Beverly Center which managed to retain their upscale clientèle.

Former Bullock's locations

Arizona

Southern California

Nevada

Former Bullock's North locations

Northern California

Former Bullocks Wilshire locations

Southern California

References

  • P.G.Winnet-Time Magazine archive
  • Bullock's on an old post card
  • Los Angeles Downtown News-Department Stores Past

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