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Industry Retail
Founded 1914
Headquarters Reading, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Number of locations
Key people
Albert Boscov, Chairman & CEO
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, candy, household goods
Revenue $1.051 billionUSD (2006)

Boscov's is an American department store founded by Solomon Boscov in 1914. The first store was in Reading, Pennsylvania, and today 44 stores are spread throughout the states of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Delaware, Ohio, and Connecticut.

Boscov's, along with Belk, Von Maur and Dillard's, is one of the last family-owned department store chains in the United States, and has yearly revenue of over $1 billion. The chain of stores competes with the prices and products of The Bon-Ton. In some cities, Boscov's now competes with JCPenney, Macy's and Sears. The current company chairman is Albert Boscov.

The company, along with Philadelphia station WPVI-TV, was an annual title sponsor of the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia from 1988 until 2007, having taken over when Gimbels Department Stores went out of business. After the company filed for bankruptcy, title sponsorship was taken over by Swedish Furniture and Housewares retailer IKEA, whose North American Home office has been in nearby Plymouth Meeting since 1982.

Boscov's still operates three downtown department stores in Binghamton, New York; Scranton, Pennsylvania and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.


  • History 1
  • Bankruptcy 2
  • Exit From Electronics/Major Appliances 3
  • References 4


Solomon "Sol" Boscov was of Jewish descent, he emigrated to Reading, Pennsylvania in 1914.[1] He had $1.37 in cash on arrival in the United States.[1] He worked as a traveling salesman with an initial $8 worth of merchandise. Because he spoke Yiddish, he was able to converse with those people in Berks County who spoke Pennsylvania Dutch.[1]

The first Boscov's was founded in downtown Reading as the Economy Shoe Store and Dry Goods Annex.[2] Boscov's began opening satellite stores in the Reading suburbs in the 1960s. As early as 1968, Boscov's had five stores, 2200 workers and annual sales exceeding $50 million.[3] Solomon Boscov retired and was succeeded by his son Albert "Albie" Boscov as head of the company in 1968.[3] Boscov's began opening stores in nearby counties, starting with the Lebanon, Pennsylvania, store in 1972.[4]


Boscov's in Downtown Binghamton, New York

In late July 2008, reports began swirling that the company would be forced into bankruptcy after a number of its suppliers began halting future shipments of merchandise due to lack of payments.[5] On August 4, 2008, Boscov's formally filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection[6] in which they announced ten underperforming stores will be closed: five in Pennsylvania, three in Maryland, and one each in New Jersey and Virginia.[7] The Virginia store was at Piedmont Mall (now Danville Mall).[8] In addition, Boscov's canceled plans to open a store at the Willow Grove Park Mall.[9]

On September 18, 2008, Boscov's announced that it had named Philadelphia-based Versa Capital Management Inc. (parent company or major shareholder of Republic Storage Systems, Polartec, and Black Angus Steakhouse, among others) as the preferred, or "stalking horse" bidder for a complete sale of the company, with an offer of $11 million cash plus assumption of all debt. The purpose of a stalking horse is to provide a rough estimate of the value of a company, as a basis for possible bidding by other parties. If no other bids are received, Versa reportedly was prepared to go through with the acquisition.

On October 15, 2008, retired chairman and CEO Albert Boscov confirmed earlier rumors by submitting a bid to reacquire the company, in partnership with his brother-in-law Edwin Lakin (father of then CEO Kenneth Lakin). The bankruptcy auction, originally scheduled for September 24, then postponed to October 1, and again to October 20, was postponed once more to October 27, after several creditors, primarily shopping mall owners, requested more information before permitting the sale to go forward.

Ed Rendell, then governor of Pennsylvania, offered a $35 million state loan to Boscov's, funded by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, on November 27, 2008.[10] Under the bankruptcy, the Virginia store closed after only three years in business.

On August 4, 2009, one year after the retail chain declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, Al Boscov reported on WFMZ-TV that the retail chain is doing okay, and that new stores are possible in 2010 despite several suppliers not being paid.[11] The company successfully exited chapter 11 bankruptcy a month later.[12]

Boscov's reopened its location at the Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, New Jersey in October 2011. This marks the first expansion of the company since its contraction in 2008. In May 2012, Boscov's announced plans to reopen its White Marsh Mall location in Maryland by the end of the year. The White Marsh location opened on October 5, 2012. On May 15, 2012, Boscov's announced it will be opening a location in the anchor of Woodbridge Center Mall replacing Fortunoff.[13]

Boscov's opened its first Ohio store in St. Clairsville, Ohio's Ohio Valley Mall in October, 2013.[14]

In October, 2015, Boscov's entered New England for the first time by opening its first Connecticut store at the Westfield Meriden mall, replacing a JCPenney store that closed in 2014.[15]

Exit From Electronics/Major Appliances

On November 2, 2012, Boscov's announced to its employees that they would begin implementing a transition out of their television and major appliance divisions, effective November 11, 2012. Boscov's has cited 'dramatic changes in the industry [...] as well as changes in customer buying patterns' as the motivation for this business exit. While Boscov's will continue to support maintenance agreements purchased by consumers, it is expected that the consequent sell-down of remaining stock will result in the ultimate termination of the departments as early as mid December, 2012. Employees within these departments will be offered alternate positions within the company where available, or a severance payout based on their length of employment.


  1. ^ a b c Berksiana. Charles Schuyler Castner. 1976. Page 321
  2. ^ Berksiana. Charles Schuyler Castner. 1976. Page 319
  3. ^ a b Berksiana. Charles Schuyler Castner. 1976. Page 323
  4. ^ "About Boscov's Department Stores". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  5. ^ "Suppliers halting shipments to Boscov's". 2008-07-25. Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  6. ^ "Boscov's Files for Bankruptcy Protection". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  7. ^
  8. ^ Lucia, Tony (6 August 2005). "Boscov chain poised to grow".  
  9. ^ Shoemaker DeBree, Crissa (December 21, 2008). "Welcome back, Mr. B".  
  10. ^ The Suburban Advertiser. Thursday, November 27, 2008. Page 4-A. "State offers Boscov's $35 M in loans."
  11. ^ "Battling Back". Retrieved 2011-01-28. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Boscov's to Open in Woodbridge Center Next Year". Woodbridge, New Jersey Patch. Retrieved 14 September 2014. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ Courant, Hartford. "Boscov's Department Store To Open At Meriden Mall, Adding 300 Jobs". Retrieved 2015-09-21. 
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