Filene's Basement Celebrates 100 Years of Bargains
Published: 2009/10/21
Channel: brovio
Filene's Demo
Published: 2013/07/31
Channel: iFnLuvBos
Running of the Brides - Filenes Basement Wedding Dress Sale
Running of the Brides - Filenes Basement Wedding Dress Sale
Published: 2007/10/12
Channel: campdc1
Brides descend on gown sale at Filene
Brides descend on gown sale at Filene's Basement
Published: 2015/07/21
Channel: AP Archive
Filene's Basement to close in January
Published: 2011/11/02
Channel: The Boston Globe
1992 Filene
1992 Filene's Basement Commercial
Published: 2010/04/28
Channel: tapedfromcable
Stanley Hiller demonstrates his "Hiller Copter" and Filene
Stanley Hiller demonstrates his "Hiller Copter" and Filene's Dept. stores deliver...HD Stock Footage
Published: 2014/07/02
Channel: CriticalPast
Filene's - Felix Christmas (1988)
Published: 2017/12/26
Channel: MrSurferOne
Money Minute: Madoff, McDonald
Money Minute: Madoff, McDonald's, Filene's
Published: 2009/06/08
Channel: Associated Press
Sneak peek: Old Filene
Sneak peek: Old Filene's Basement gets new look
Published: 2014/08/26
Channel: WCVB Channel 5 Boston
The running of the brides at Filene
The running of the brides at Filene's
Published: 2011/02/18
Channel: CBS
Filene's Basement Commercial - Can't Beat the Thrill - 1987
Published: 2018/02/10
Channel: tallboyyyy
Filene's Basement closes its doors
Published: 2011/12/29
Channel: The Boston Globe
Filene's Basement - Running of the Brides® The Boston Classic
Published: 2010/03/01
Channel: brovio
Filene's Running of the Brides 2009 Washington DC by
Published: 2009/07/31
Channel: evanmydj
1990 FILENE'S One Day Sale Commercial
Published: 2010/07/17
Channel: tapedfromcable
Filene's Running of the Bride's
Published: 2011/04/29
Channel: Kstreet Mag
The running of the brides at Filene
The running of the brides at Filene's
Published: 2011/02/18
Channel: CBS News
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino on Filene
Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino on Filene's Basement
Published: 2014/10/31
Channel: brovio
Chrystee Pharris - Filene
Chrystee Pharris - Filene's Basement Commercial
Published: 2013/04/25
Channel: Chrystee Pharris
Brides Race For Bargain Gowns (CBS News)
Brides Race For Bargain Gowns (CBS News)
Published: 2008/02/26
Channel: CBS
Running of the Brides at Filene
Running of the Brides at Filene's Basement
Published: 2011/11/06
Channel: John Wilcox
Filene's - Downtown Crossing
Published: 2008/08/29
Channel: Peter Goudy
Filene's Basement - Running of the Brides®
Published: 2010/02/17
Channel: brovio
Published: 2008/10/17
Channel: mikedonovancom
Filene's - Downtown Crossing
Published: 2008/08/29
Channel: Peter Goudy
Filene's - Downtown Crossing
Published: 2008/08/29
Channel: Peter Goudy
Brides running into Filene
Brides running into Filene's
Published: 2008/08/22
Channel: thewooddove
Filene's Last Days in Boston
Published: 2013/07/29
Channel: woodchuckindustries
Brides Blitz Filene
Brides Blitz Filene's Basement
Published: 2009/08/17
Channel: Washington Post
Filene's - Downtown Crossing
Published: 2008/08/26
Channel: Peter Goudy
Annual Filene
Annual Filene's Basement Tent Event - The Boston Truckah
Published: 2016/06/16
Channel: The Boston Truckah
Q100-The Bert Show & Filene
Q100-The Bert Show & Filene's Basement Running of the Brides
Published: 2008/03/21
Channel: Rob Hamilton
1990 Estee Lauder Paulina Porizkova Perfect Lipstick Filene
1990 Estee Lauder Paulina Porizkova Perfect Lipstick Filene's commercial
Published: 2016/07/02
Channel: 630redhead
Crazy in Filene
Crazy in Filene's
Published: 2012/05/06
Channel: Monologues ToGo
Filene's Basement Goodies!!!!!
Published: 2010/02/19
Channel: Reneetiamiller
Filene's Basement and Syms together in Norwood, MA
Published: 2010/03/31
Channel: FilenesBasement
filenes 007
filenes 007
Published: 2009/10/30
Channel: Laura Vona
Filene's - Downtown Crossing
Published: 2008/08/29
Channel: Peter Goudy
Filene's Basement Running of the Brides®: NYC 02/2010 -Cheer 2
Published: 2010/02/12
Channel: WeddingWire
Published: 2013/05/01
Channel: alunn1990
Fabulous Finds #2: Loehmann
Fabulous Finds #2: Loehmann's, Filene's and ZooShoos
Published: 2011/04/12
Channel: TuTuBeauty28
Filene's Basement: Inside a Fired Customer's Case Solution & Analysis- TheCaseSolutio...
Published: 2016/09/23
Channel: TheCaseSolutions com
Purse Shopping at Filenes Basement
Purse Shopping at Filenes Basement
Published: 2009/04/22
Channel: GoatHerderEd
Filene's goes down
Published: 2013/08/12
Channel: plerp
The Bells of Filenes
The Bells of Filenes
Published: 2011/09/01
Channel: Peter Kingman
Brides-to-be race to
Brides-to-be race to 'Running of the Brides' sale
Published: 2011/02/19
Channel: AFP news agency
Shopping at Filenes Basement with Keira
Shopping at Filenes Basement with Keira
Published: 2009/12/20
Channel: iamnotgreg
Manhattan desde Filene
Manhattan desde Filene's Basement Vista de UNION SQUARE.
Published: 2015/08/13
Channel: joe galante
Filene's - Downtown Crossing
Published: 2008/08/29
Channel: Peter Goudy
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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Industry Retail
Fate Acquired by Macy's
Successor Macy's
Founded 1881; 137 years ago (1881) (as Filene’s Sons and Co.)
Founder William Filene
Defunct September 9, 2006 (2006-09-09)
Headquarters Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares
Parent Federated Department Stores
(1929-88, 2005-06)
The May Department Stores Company
Website Archived official website at the Wayback Machine (archive index)

Filene's was an American department store, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts; it operated throughout New England and in New York. It was owned by Federated Department Stores from 1929 until 1988, at which time it was acquired by The May Department Stores Company. In 2005, Federated Department Stores bought May Department Stores, which resulted in Federated reacquiring Filene's. In September 2006, Federated retired the Filene's brand and converted the majority of its stores to Macy's over the course of 2006-07.


Early years[edit]

Filene’s was founded in 1881 by William Filene under the name Filene’s Sons and Co. William Filene was a German Jewish immigrant from Posen, Prussia, who immigrated to Boston in 1848. By 1881 Filene had built up many small retail shops around Boston creating his own department store.

Shoppers hurry around Filene's (center right) on Washington Street in Boston

Although William Filene is credited with creating Filene’s, it was his sons, Edward and Lincoln, who took the store into greatness.[1] Edward and Lincoln were two of the most well known businessmen in America and were responsible for turning their father’s clothing store into one of the largest department stores in the country. The two sons assumed management of the store in 1891 and inherited the store upon their father’s death in 1901.[1]

In 1908 Edward Filene opened the automatic bargain annex or Filene's Basement as a way to sell excess merchandise from the upstairs department store.[2] He also developed an automatic mark-down schedule to mark down merchandise still used today. Edward's influence gave Filene’s an early reputation as a customer oriented store with slogans like “money back if not satisfied.”

A flagship store, Filene's Department Store, was completed in 1912 on the corner of Washington and Summer streets by Chicago architect Daniel Burnham as his last major project. By 1929 Filene’s expanded the flagship building, converting the block around Washington, Summer, Hawley and Franklin streets into one department store.[1] Also in 1929, Filene’s joined Abraham & Straus and Lazarus as the founding members of Federated Department Stores.

Suburban expansion[edit]

From the 1930s through 1990s Filene’s continued expanding beyond New England with the country growing and adapting to new shopping malls. However, Filene’s was kept at arms' length by rival Jordan Marsh, whose flagship store, like Filene's, was located in Downtown Crossing in Boston, and was also making the transition, expanding into shopping malls. In 1947, Filene’s Basement started its annual bridal gown sale. Lines extending around the store made it famous. In 1988, after the leveraged buyout of Federated by Campeau Corp. of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the division was sold to May Department Stores Co. along with Foley's of Houston. It was then that Filene's and Filene's Basement were disassociated. In 1992 Filene's absorbed G. Fox & Co. of Hartford, Connecticut, and Steiger's in 1994, two other divisions of May Company. The 1990s saw a doubling of the Filene's organization as May invested in new stores and broadened Filene's price and product assortments. In 2002 it assumed operational control of the Kaufmann's stores in Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and western New York.

Filene's ad on back of Red Sox ticket


On August 30, 2005, Federated Department Stores completed its previously announced acquisition of May Department Stores, thus reuniting Federated and Filene's. On that day the Filene's/Kaufmann's organization was dissolved and the management of its stores was assumed by Macy's. The store's website was largely consolidated into during spring 2006. On September 9, 2006, the Filene's name and brand were eliminated as Federated converted Filene's to the Macy's masthead. The landmark flagship Filene's at Downtown Crossing closed. Federated did not convert this store to a Macy's as there was already a Macy's across the street (the former Jordan Marsh flagship store, acquired by Macy's in 1996). But Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino preferred "marrying Macy's to the Filene's building" because of its importance to Downtown Crossing and to Boston.[3] Federated never did switch Macy's leaving an empty department store in the heart of Downtown Crossing. When Filene's closed, the Boston Landmarks Commission unanimously voted to protect the two oldest buildings that housed Filene's, the main 1912 store and a 1905 former glassware and china seller's building on the opposite corner.[4] The two newer buildings, built in 1951 and 1973, were demolished in 2008.

Boston's own variation of the saying meet me under the clock with Filene's clock on Washington street

Surprisingly, though many Bostonians felt a sense of loss and emptiness, the public did not protest the closing, unlike of Marshall Field's in Chicago, and Kaufmann's in Pittsburgh. Boston had already lost many local companies to larger companies in the region, especially New York City, including The New York Times' acquisition of the Boston Globe and the closing of Bank of Boston and Fleet Bank.[3] In the end, the Boston Landmarks Commission only protected the façade of the buildings, allowing developers to rip out the building's interior, including the original paneling installed in 1912. When the project ran out of money, the buildings were left completely gutted.

The former flagship Boston store is now home to Irish retailer Primark's first US location, Havas Media, Arnold Worldwide, and Oath .[5]

Filene's Basement[edit]

Under the direction of company president Edward Filene, Filene's opened its famous "Automatic Bargain Basement" in 1909, which became a heavily visited tourist attraction. The concept of the bargain basement was not new (Marshall Field's opened the first in 1879), but Filene's basement was well lit and ostentatiously decorated. The basement had its own staff which bought surplus, factory clearances, overstock, or closeout merchandise - Filene boasted that he had once sold more than 7,000 pairs of woolen underwear in two July days. Goods were marked down according to an automatic schedule; an item that had been on sale for 12 days was marked down by 25 percent, after 18 days by 50 percent, after 24 days by 75 percent, and after 30 days it was given away. Ninety percent of goods sold in the basement were purchased within the first 12 days of sale.[6] Filene's Basement was separately owned and operated by Retail Ventures, Inc. until 2009 when it was sold to Buxbaum Group, a liquidation company. The Filene's Basement stores were not affected by the Filene's-Macy's merger, since the "Basement" had long been under totally separate ownership from Filene's. However, in 2007, the flagship Filene's Basement location was closed while the old Filene's building was being gutted and rebuilt. At the time of the closing, the store was expected to move back into its basement space in 2010; however, the Filene's Basement company entered its third Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2011, liquidating and permanently closing all of its stores in December 2011.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Remembering Great American Department Stores
  2. ^ A history of Filene's basement
  3. ^ a b It's official: Filene's brand will be gone
  4. ^, City makes Filene's site a landmark 2 of 4 buildings must be preserved
  5. ^ [1] A UK-based American tells the US what to expect from Primark
  6. ^ Jacobs, Meg (2004). Pocketbook Politics: Economic Citizenship in Twentieth-Century America. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 

External links[edit]


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