Montgomery Ward bought the Miami-based Jefferson Stores chain in January 1973. In February 1979, the failing Almart / J.B. Hunter division of Allied Stores was also acquired. Ward's then set about to merge these chains into a single "upscale discount" division.

The first Jefferson Ward stores opened in Florida in January 1980, utilizing former Jefferson Stores and Montgomery Ward locations. These were followed by operations in Greater Philadelphia in July 1980. These had been stores in the Almart, J.M. Fields and Two Guys discount mart chains. Jefferson Ward operations averaged 80,000 square feet.

Eventually encompassing forty-four stores, the creation of the chain proved to be a less than fortuitous move for Montgomery Ward. Various stores were sold to Bradlees and Kmart in October 1985. The rest were repurposed as Montgomery Ward Clearance Outlets and Ward's Specialty Stores.

*BOCA RATON MALL, Boca Raton, FL (1980)
*LAKES MALL, Lauderdale Lakes, FL (1980)
*CONCORD MALL, New Castle County, DE (1980) [previously Almart]