ALL OFFICES & ALL STORES
New York, March 25th, 1916.
W A RN I N G.
My attention has been called to a general letter sent out by Mr. Mickler of the Chicago Office, dated March 16th and March 30th. In these general letters to the Chicago Office Store managers, will say that I am surprised, to learn that the managers of Kresge & Co, have, been trying to influence some of the managers of our stores to fix prices. I have before me letters from the managers the Lincoln, Nebr. Store, Des Moines, Iowa, Store, St Paul, Minn.Store, Kenosha, Wis. Store and Kewanee, Ill. Store. In all of the above letters, our managers have been approached by the managers of Kresge’s stores and I am glad to learn that these particular managers will not co-operate with our competitors and it seems that some of the Kresge managers have informed our managers that managers in our other stores, are co-operating with their managers to prevent competition and are fixing prices on certain articles of goods that seem to be quite strong competition.
Now, I am surprised to learn that some of our store managers
have been familiar and confidential with some of our competitor’s managers. One of these letters states that word has come to them from their headquarters that they should get acquainted with our managers and try a fix up prices so there would not be so much competition.
I wish to state that this business of F. W. Woolworth Co. is conducted, controlled, and managed by the officers of the Company and the district managers, and under no circumstances will we allow any competitor to dictate to us or influence us in any way, as to the prices we shall sell our goods, and I am not quite sure, but I think it is against the Federal Law to get their heads together and combine on the prices of merchandise. My advice to every manager of all of our stores, is to not get familiar in any way, either in or outside of our stores, with the managers of our competitors stores. This not only applies to managers of stores, but to everyone connected with the business. It is our business to run our stores as we see fit and I don’t want any of our men to become even familiar with our competitors at all.
Furthermore, I don’t like the idea of managers of our competitors’ stores coming into our stores at all. You may think by familiarity with our competitors that you can get a few points out of them, which will be of advantage to you and on the other hand, you might give them a few points that might be of advantage to them, therefore, you should discourage any consultation with them at all, not only about our business but on any subject.
Please remember that the five and ten cent business was organized on an entirely new idea in February 1879. That idea has been successful eventually up to the present date and everyone working on our ideas entirely, copying our, methods of doing business, copying the color of the front, arranging of the fixtures in the store and displaying of merchandise in the store, copied from our methods and they are endeavouring and trying hard to take our business away from us, and therefore, it is your duty to fight this competition tooth and nail.
EXECUTIVE OFFICE, 2.
ALL OFFICES & STORES. New York, March 25th, 1916.
In the past thirty-seven years, we have had imitators galore and thousands of them have made failures of the business and there are two of them who are apparently successful now, but it remains to be seen that “the survival of the fittest” shall remain.
You must be on the alert all the time to prevent them from taking our business away from us and you should use every legitimate and honourable means to prevent them from doing so.
Furthermore, I do not wish to have any of our managers visit our competitors’ stores in the towns that you are managing a store. If you should go into a strange town, there is no harm in seeing what our competitor has been doing to us.
I am sorry to say that a good many of our men have been more or less familiar with the managers of our competitors’ stores in the past, but I did not suppose that there would be any arrangements to fix prices with our competitors. Now, if any manager has made such arrangement with our competitor, I wish they would cut off all such agreements hereafter.
Mr. Mickler has written out to the managers of his district, using the following terms:
“Under no consideration should you even think of changing your prices to conform with Kresge’s wishes.”
“Do not entertain or even discuss prices, etc with your competitor the enemy. Attend strictly to business and feature as strongly as possible, the items that seem to be bothering your competitor most.”
“Fight your competitor. Don’t let up for a moment – keep your windows well trimmed. Be sure to run specials in the corners of your doorway windows everyday. With co-operation, we can make it interesting for your competitors”.
“One of the first things Kresge’s managers try to do, is to get on the right side of the Woolworth manager”.
“By attending strictly to your own business# you can set a pace that your competitors cannot keep up with and in case of any of Kresge’s managers have approached you, it is evident you are making it interesting for them and he (the manager) wants to get friendly.
“Don’t have anything to do with your competitor. We want you to fight competition, which means increased sales and increased income to you as manager.”
The above are timely remarks by Mr. Mickler and good advice to our managers and I trust that our managers are strong enough and wise enough to hold their tongues when competitors come in the store and try to get information,
6) F. W. WOOLWORTH.