Montgomery Ward carried out a massive expansion in the late 1920s. There were only 3 retail stores in 1927. By late 1928, 244 were in business. In 1930, the chain was operating an astounding 556! This number fell to 409 as a result of the Great Depression, but had rebounded to 625 by 1940.

After World War II, Wards' top level management was (mistakenly) convinced that another economic depression was going to hit the nation. As a result, the chain's move into the lucrative suburban marketplace was delayed for several years.