From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Carson Pirie Scott & Co.
Industry Retail
Fate Bankruptcy
Founded 1854 (164 years ago) (1854)
Founder Scotsman Carson
Headquarters Chicago, Illinois
Number of locations
51 (2018)[1]
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, housewares
Website Archived official website at the Wayback Machine (archive index)

Carson Pirie Scott & Co. (also known as Carson's) is an American chain of department stores located primarily in the Midwestern United States, with over 50 stores under the nameplate.

The Carson Pirie Scott name is strongly associated with the historic Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building designed by Louis Sullivan, built in 1899 for the retail firm Schlesinger & Mayer, and expanded and sold to Carson Pirie Scott in 1904.



Carson Pirie Scott logo used between 1946 through 1978.
Carson Pirie Scott Logo used from 1978 through the company's sale to Bergner in 1989. The box design and "& Co." suffix was dropped in 1986; this later variant of the logo could still be found on older store signage through the company's end.
Final Carson Pirie Scott logo before the name was shortened, which adopted the red insignia and font of Bergner's.

The chain began in 1854 when Scotsmen Samuel Carson and John Pirie first clerked in the Murray's dry goods store in Peru, Illinois - then opened their own store in LaSalle followed by one in Amboy. In 1871, the Great Chicago Fire destroyed 60% of the store's stock. In 1961, Carson Pirie Scott & Co. greatly expanded in Illinois by purchasing the 20 unit Block & Kuhl chain headquartered in Peoria.

John Edwin Scott operated a dry goods store in Ottawa, Illinois. He later moved up to Chicago and became the first partner of Samuel Carson and John T. Pirie in the ownership of a dry goods store, well known today as Carson Pirie Scott & Co. Two of John Scott's sons, Robert L. and Frederick H., were members of the department store firm.

In 1980, to diversify its business, Carson Pirie Scott & Co. borrowed $108 million to buy Dobbs Houses, Inc., an airline caterer and owner of the Toddle House and Steak 'n Egg Kitchen restaurant chains. These were sold in 1988, as was the County Seat clothing chain.

In 1989, Carson Pirie Scott & Co. was acquired by P.A. Bergner & Co. (founded in Peoria), who operated the Bergner's, Charles V. Weise, Myers Brothers and Boston Store chains.


In 1991, P.A. Bergner & Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy; upon emerging from bankruptcy in 1993, it became a NASDAQ publicly traded company, changing its operating name to Carson Pirie Scott & Co. One year later, the company commenced trading on the NYSE under the CRP symbol.

Acquisition by Proffitt's[edit]

By 1998, Carson Pirie Scott & Co. ownership was held by Proffitt's, Inc., (later renamed Saks Incorporated to reflect the acquisition of Saks Fifth Avenue). The Carson Pirie Scott, Bergner's, and Boston Store chains, along with Younkers and Herberger's nameplates, eventually operated as Saks' Northern Department Store Group (NDSG), based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In late 2005, however, the group was put up for sale as Saks Incorporated tried to refocus itself primarily on its core Saks Fifth Avenue stores.

Sale to The Bon-Ton[edit]

Carson's and its associated stores became part of The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. in a $1.1 billion deal completed on March 6, 2006.[2] The group's merchandising and marketing base remains in Milwaukee.

Bon-Ton converted Elder-Beerman stores in Indiana and Michigan to the newly shortened Carson's name in 2011 and 2012.[3][4] The chain expanded into Metro Detroit in 2013 with the conversion of three Parisian stores.[5]

Bon-Ton announced on April 17, 2018 that they would cease operations and began liquidating all 267 stores after two liquidators, Great American Group and Tiger Capital Group, won an auction for the company. The bid was estimated to be worth $775.5 million. This included all remaining Carson's stores after 164 years of operation. According to national retail reporter Mitch Nolen, stores closed within 10 to 12 weeks.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. 2011 Annual Report" (PDF). Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2007-03-11. Retrieved 2006-03-08. 
  3. ^ "Charlotte: Search Results". Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  4. ^ "Elder-Beerman stores in Monroe swap name". 2 October 2012. Retrieved 22 August 2017. 
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ "Bon-Ton Stores to close (report)". Retrieved 2018-04-17. 
  7. ^ "Liquidators to wind down US department store chain Bon-Ton". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-04-18. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Siry, Joseph M. Carson Pirie Scott: Louis Sullivan and the Chicago Department Store. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 1988. ISBN 0-226-76136-3

External links[edit]