The May Department Stores Company / May Company
Fashion Companies

Merged with Federated Department Stores.  Name had changed to Federated Department Stores.

Federated Department Stores later merged into Macy's Incorporated.

he May Department Stores Company was an American department store holding company, formerly headquartered in downtown St. Louis, Missouri.  It was founded in Leadville, Colorado, by David May in 1877, moving to St. Louis in 1905. After many changes in the retail industry, the company merged with Federated Department Stores in 2005.  Federated Department Stores then became Macy's, Inc.

In 1877, The May Department Stores Company was founded in Leadville during the Colorado silver rush. In 1889, the headquarters moved to Denver. In 1899, May acquires the E. R. Hull Dutton Co. of Cleveland, renaming it The May Company, Cleveland, later named the May Company Ohio. In 1905, the headquarters moved to St. Louis. In 1910, the business was officially incorporated as The May Department Stores Company.  In 1911: The Famous Clothing Store (owned by May) and The William Barr Dry Goods Company merged to create Famous-Barr.  In 1912, May acquires the M. O'Neil Co. (O'Neil's) department store of Akron, Ohio. In 1923, May acquires A. Hamburger Sons Co. in Los Angeles and renames it May Company California.  In 1946, May acquires the Kaufmann's chain based in Pittsburgh, retaining it as a separate division.  In 1947, May acquires Strouss-Hirshberg Co. based in Youngstown, Ohio, retaining it as a separate division and changing the name to Strouss.

In 1956, May acquires The Daniels Fisher Company of Denver, merging it with May stores in the area to create a new May-Daniels Fisher division. In 1958, May acquires the Cohen Brothers Department Store in Jacksonville, Florida, turning it into the May Cohens chain. In 1959, May acquires The Hecht Company of Baltimore, adding it as a new division.  In 1965, May acquires G. Fox Co. In 1966, May acquires the Meier Frank chain based in Portland, Oregon, adding it as a new division.  David's grandson Morton May became the chairman in 1951 and headed the company for 16 years. Morton May was active in St. Louis civic affairs and was a patron of the St. Louis Art Museum. In 1968, Venture Stores was founded when Target co-founder John F. Geisse went to work for May Department Stores. Under an antitrust settlement reached with the Department of Justice, May was unable to acquire any more retail chains at the time, and the department store company needed a way to compete against the emerging discount store chains. In the 1970s, May sold the 70-store Consumers Distributing chain of catalog merchants to the Canadian Consumers Distributing Company.  It closed its stores in 1996. In 1986, May acquires the Associated Dry Goods holding company and its chains (including Loehmann's, Lord Taylor, and Caldor), the largest-ever retail acquisition in history at that time.  In 1988, May acquires Foley's in Houston and Filene's in Boston from Federated Department Stores.  In 1993, May Company California and JW Robinsons merged to form Robinsons-May. In 1995, May acquires the John Wanamaker chain based in Philadelphia. In 1996, May acquires the Strawbridge's chain based in Philadelphia.  In 1998, May acquires The Jones Store chain based in Kansas City, Missouri.

In 1999, May acquires Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution based in Salt Lake City, folding it into the Meier Frank subsidiary.  In 2000, May Department Stores purchases David's Bridal.  In 2004, May Department Stores takes over the Marshall Field's chain from Target Corporation.  In 2005, May is purchased by Federated Department Stores for $11 billion in stock, with all former May divisions being folded into Federated's various Macy's branches.  In 2006, over 400 former May stores, with their wide variety of long-standing brand names, are consolidated and renamed as Macy's. In addition, Federated sells off three former May chains (David's Bridal, Lord Taylor and Priscilla of Boston).

On February 28, 2005, Federated Department Stores, Inc. announced that they would acquire the May company for $11 billion.