T. Eaton Company Limited
A cornerstone of the Eaton empire was its catalogue business, established in 1884 along with mail-order facilities to reach pioneer farm communities. The discontinuation of this business in 1976 spurred internal reorganization and revitalization.
Eaton Company Limited, The T.The T. Eaton Company Limited, with head offices in Toronto, was a major Canadian retailer founded in Toronto in 1869 by Timothy EATON. Eaton revolutionized the commercial practice of the day by selling items for cash at a fixed price and offering satisfaction or money refunded. His store became one of the largest department stores in North America. Eaton's son John Craig EATON assumed the presidency on the death of his father in 1907; he was later knighted. His cousin, Robert Young Eaton, took over in 1922, followed by Sir John's son, John David EATON, in 1942. The current president, George Ross Eaton, Timothy Eaton's great-grandson, was the last Eaton to run the business. George Kosich replaced Eaton as president in June 1997 and was himself replaced by CEO Brent Ballantyne in December 1998.
A cornerstone of the Eaton empire was its catalogue business, established in 1884 along with mail-order facilities to reach pioneer farm communities. The discontinuation of this business in 1976 spurred internal reorganization and revitalization. Other early innovations included the Product Research Bureau, which was established in 1916 by John Craig Eaton, who was inspired by his father's insistence that customers should always know what was in their merchandise; it was the first developed in Canada by a retailer. The company's sales revenues and assets were undisclosed.
In February 1997 the Eaton family, who owned all shares in the company, shocked the retail world by seeking protection under the bankruptcy laws. At the time, the company had an estimated 24 500 employees and over 90 retail outlets across Canada, many of which were considered integral parts of their communities. In 1998 Eaton Co went public and launched a campaign to improve its position, reducing its retail outlets to 64. But the company finished the year with a net loss of $72 million, and in 1999 it announced further closures and a corporate restructuring plan. This failed to work, and amid many expressions of sorrow about the end of an era, the company went bankrupt in August 1999.