William T. Dillard's retail empire began with his T.J. Dillard store, which opened, in Nashville, Arkansas, in February 1938. A partnership in the Texarkana-based Wooten's store was established in March 1948, with the store's nameplate changing to Wooten & Dillard.
Retail chains were acquired in Texas (1956) and Oklahoma (1959). The first store to open under the Dillard's nameplate began business, in Austin's HANCOCK CENTER, in February 1964. A series of aggressive store buyouts expanded the Dillard's chain exponentially. The Kansas market was entered in 1975, Louisiana in 1976, Tennessee in 1981 and Missouri, Oklahoma, Nevada and Arizona in 1984.
1985 saw the acquisition of Macy's Kansas City locations. Dillard's stores were added in Texas in 1987 and in Ohio, Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama in 1989. The Carolinas came into the Dillard's retail realm in 1990. In 1994, a joint venture with Wal-Mart and Cifra, Mexico's leading retailer, was announced. The plan was to open six Dillard's stores south of the border by 1996. However, economic turmoil in Mexico resulted in the abandonment of this expansion plan in May 1996. The stores were never built.
The final Dillard's expansion was conducted in 1998 when the entire Mercantile Stores holding company was absorbed. Today, there are two hundred and ninety-four Dillard's stores in operation in twenty-nine states of the Union.
EARLY DILLARD'S SHOPPING MALL STORES:
*NORTHWEST ARKANSAS PLAZA, Fayetteville, AR (1972)
Nordstrom had humble beginnings as a Seattle-based shoe store chain. Founded by Johan "John" Nordstrom in 1901, the company acquired Best's, a Jet City apparel chain, in 1963. After a 6-year stint as Nordstrom Best, the name of the upscale apparel and accessories seller was shortened to simply Nordstrom, in 1973.
The first store outside the Pacific Northwest market opened, in Anchorage, Alaska, in 1975. The first California operation was dedicated, at Costa Mesa's SOUTH COAST PLAZA, in May 1978. Today, the chain encompasses one hundred twenty-three stores in twenty-eight states, Puerto Rico and three Canadian Provinces.
EARLY NORDSTROM SHOPPING MALL STORES:
*WASHINGTON SQUARE MALL, Tigard, OR (1974)