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Chain stores became an important force in the American economy around the turn of the century. Mass production (and the accompanying potential for mass consumption) made this new business model possible. Innovators saw that they could make more money from high-volume low-margin sales than from the low-volume high-margin sales that characterized traditional ...


The original chain stores sold low cost, mundane products that enabled merchants to save money by "buying in bulk." The first three included United Cigar (a "single" product store), F.W. Woolworth, a "dime" store that we would now call a "dollar" store, and Great Atlantic and Pacific (A&P), a grocery store. Chain stores became popular in the United ...

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