Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2001 (Revised December 2002)

Marshall Field and the Rise of the Department Store

by Nancy F. Koehn


Analyzes Marshall Field's efforts to develop a market for mass retailing in late 19th-century Chicago. Examines Chicago's expansion in the 1860s and, within this context, how Field struck out on his own to, build a wholesale and retail business. Concentrates on the efforts of Field and his partner Levi Leiter to build a large regional and, later, a national market for their distribution business and the significant financial, managerial, and strategic challenges they faced. This case analyzes how Field and his partners built a strong, meaningful brand for the company.

Keywords: Fluctuation; Industry Growth; Corporate Strategy; Entrepreneurship; Brands and Branding; Society; Distribution Industry; Retail Industry; Chicago;


Koehn, Nancy F. "Marshall Field and the Rise of the Department Store." Harvard Business School Case 801-349, February 2001. (Revised December 2002.)