Kinney Shoes

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G.R. Kinney Company
FateBusiness reorganization
SuccessorFoot Locker
FoundedWaverly, NY, U.S. 1894 (1894)
FounderGeorge Romanta Kinney
DefunctSeptember 16, 1998 (1998-09-16)
Area served
United States, Canada, Puerto Rico

The G.R. Kinney Company was an American manufacturer and retailer of shoes from 1894[1] until September 16, 1998.[2] Its listing on the New York Stock Exchange, symbol KNN, began in March 1923.[3] The shoe concern was started by George Romanta Kinney whose father ran a general store in rural Candor, New York. The father became indebted and George vowed to repay his indebtedness. In 1894, at the age of 28, he had saved enough to purchase a Lester retail outlet in Waverly, New York. Lester Shoe of Binghamton, New York was the predecessor to the Endicott Johnson Corporation. Kinney succeeded by selling affordably priced shoes to working Americans.[4]

The business chain numbered 362 stores at the conclusion of 1929, with 44 of these opening in the final year of the decade.[5] Foot Locker began as a division of the Kinney Shoe Corporation in 1974.[6]

Chain and later a subsidiary[edit]

Kinney shoe store in North Carolina, circa 1930s or 1940s.

Kinney Shoes was the largest family chain shoe retailer in the United States at the beginning of 1936, with 335 stores operating nationwide.[7] Although it was selling more shoes at the conclusion of 1936 than in 1929, its dollar volume was 20% to 30% below 1929.[8]

On August 31, 1963, the G.R. Kinney Company was sold to F.W. Woolworth.[2] Prior to this it was a subsidiary of the Brown Shoe Company which sold it for $45 million.[9] The firm was renamed the Kinney Shoe Corporation and continued as a fully owned subsidiary of Woolworth.[10] It retained its own eleven member board of directors and an existing panel of corporate officers.

Foot Locker exclusivity[edit]

The company continued operating throughout the 1960s and 1970s with divisions named Stylco (1967), Susie Casuals (1968), and Foot Locker (1974).[10] On September 16, 1998, the Venator Group, Woolworth's successor, announced that Kinney's 467 shoe stores and 103 Footquarters stores would close. The Foot Locker division, started in 1974, continues to this day, with Venator changing its name in 2001 to Foot Locker.[4] Foot Locker also maintains the trademarks of the Kinney and Woolworth brands.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "G.R. Kinney Co. Sales". The Wall Street Journal. 9 April 1930. p. 6.
  2. ^ a b "Brown Shoe Co". The Wall Street Journal. 3 December 1964. p. 28.
  3. ^ "Topics In Wall Street". The New York Times. 30 March 1923. p. 24.
  4. ^ a b Kinney Shoe Corporation webpage, internet article.[full citation needed]
  5. ^ "G.R. Kinney Sales Up". The Wall Street Journal. 9 January 1930. p. 9.
  6. ^ Kinney Shoe Corporation, internet article.[full citation needed]
  7. ^ "G.R. Kinney Shows Net of $22,748 For Last Year". The Wall Street Journal. 30 January 1936. p. 9.
  8. ^ "Kinney Co. Calls Meeting to Eliminate Operating Deficit". The Wall Street Journal. 4 December 1936. p. 10.
  9. ^ "Investing In Yourself". The Wall Street Journal. 30 June 1965. p. 1.
  10. ^ a b McDermott, Kathleen (1994). Retail Revolutionary: Kinney Shoe Corporation's First Century in Footwear. Cambridge. Archived from the original on 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2009-03-23.

External links[edit]