Rise and Decline of the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company

William I. Walsh, Author L. Stuart $17.95 (254p) ISBN 978-0-8184-0382-8
With long experience working for A & P, Walsh, who joined the firm in 1938, is wonderfully equipped to write a history of that company, once the world leader in food retailing and now the seventh largest in the U.S. Founded in 1859 by George H. Hartford and an associate, A & P was managed from the 1880s to the 1950s by Hartford's two sons, its goal to supply good food at the lowest prices. From a single store, it grew to more than 15,000 by 1927. Further, the chain was among the first to foresee the development of supermarkets in the 1930s and '40s. But with the death of the founder's sons and no family member to take over, A & P went public in 1959 and has declined steadily since. In 1979, it was sold to a German entrepreneur who shortly thereafter ""restructured'' its employee pension plan, making $400 million in the process. The Hartfords, Walsh believes, succeeded because they had an idea, a dream, and those who followed failed because they did not. Illustrations not seen by PW. 50,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo. (April 15)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1986
Release date: 04/01/1986
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