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Reading the Cultural Waves

Travel back 50 years to the mahogany-paneled office of Sewell Avery, then chairman of Montgomery Ward & Co. Avery was responsible for Ward's failure to open a single new store from 1941 to 1957. Instead, the big retailer piled up cash—and then sat on it. Ward's amassed $607 million, earning them a dubious Wall Street nickname: "the bank with the department ...

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