Nostalgic for Mervyns

Founder’s Sons Plan to Revive Mervyns 2/17/09


Three sons of the founder of Mervyns have purchased the department store’s name, intellectual property and online properties with plans to revive the brand. John Morris, along with his two brothers Jeff and Jim, agreed to purchase the assets in bankruptcy court for about $162,000.

“It’s great to have it back in our family after 31 years,” John Morris, principal of Morris Management, a private-equity and real estate investment company, told the Wall Street Journal. “We strongly believe we have a very strong, loyal base of families in the Western states that would support Mervyns.”

Mervyns filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in July of last year and in October said it would liquidate its remaining 149 stores after the holiday season.

The buyers are still exploring options, whether solely focusing on reestablishing an online presence or reopening stores.

“It was tough to watch what happened,” John Morris said. “Mervyns had always performed well. The demise of the retail operation was caused by factors other than the performance of the stores.”

While certainly challenged by the current economy, analysts were mostly positive about a re-launch of Mervyns.

“It’s a great idea,” said George Whalin, president and CEO of Retail Management Consultants.  “If they could get back in business it would be terrific. There is some real value in that name.”

Discussion questions:  What do you think of bringing back Mervyns? If you were to design a department store chain from scratch these days, what would it look like?

My post: 

I admit this is an emotional vs. a rational response:  I would love to see the Mervyn’s of old brought back:  a high service, family oriented purveyor of moderately priced quality apparel and home accessories in neighborhood locations.  Unfortunately, success today in apparel retail requires much more than a nostalgic name.  If the Mervyn’s brothers have a real merchant’s vision for the customer experience and the product mix right for today’s consumers they may have a shot.  My advice?  Start slow with a handful of locations where particularly loyal customers are clustered and with a consistent and passionate merchant and customer experience vision.  Otherwise, don’t bother.

Mike Osorio, your Dare to be Contagious! TM strategist

Go to the full discussion at


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One Response to Nostalgic for Mervyns

  1. Harris says:

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