The Grocery Bag


Soon after taking over catalog in 1966, Seibert went to Atlanta to inspect the world's largest, most highly automated warehouse. The building was just being completed, and his driver suggested a sight-seeing approach. Before the warehouse came into view, they turned up a hill and stopped , the young man motioning and saying, "Right up there, Mr. Seibert, for the sight of sights."

"Kid's a romantic," Seibert thought as he walked toward the hilltop, the driver several steps behind. A very wide rectangle of flat industrial roof came into Seibert's view. With each step he took, the rectangle of roof grew in depth and grew and grew. Seibert finally stood at the top of the hill in total awe, looking down at 50 acres of warehouse roof. The sight made him tremble, a chill running down his spine. Never had the challenge of running catalog been more dramatically apparent than at this moment.

Five years later on a winter Saturday in 1971, Ralph Henderson called Seibert and said, "Don, you've got to come over." Henderson was a tough catalog expert brought in from the outside. He lived in New Jersey, 15 minutes from Seibert. By his kitchen phone, he showed Seibert the back of a grocery bag on which he had scrawled a column of numbers ”the final P&L for the year on catalog. At the bottom was a $3.2 million black number.

Henderson gave Seibert the bag, which was framed and hung in his office. Catalog was profitable from that day until the company staggered in the late 1990s.




Celebration of Fools. An Inside Look at the Rise and Fall of JCPenney
Celebration of Fools: An Inside Look at the Rise and Fall of JCPenney
ISBN: 0814471595
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 177
Authors: Bill Hare

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