Company name: James Howell & Co Ltd
Dates in business: 1909-1972
Type of business: department store retailers
Type of company: Public limited companyLocations:
With the death of James Howell in 1909, the ownership of James Howell & Co was to be divided amongst his eleven children. In order to achieve this the company was turned into a private limited company, James Howell & Co Ltd, in December 1909. Thomas Francis Howell, James Howell's eldest son, who was a barrister in London, became chairman of the company, with John Hugh, Frederick William and James Howell assuming active management in Cardiff.
James Howell's children continued the expansion of the store, with a grocery and provisions department and a motor showroom being added by 1913. Whislt the 1914-1918 World War put a stop to planned developments, the store's profits increased steadily. In November 1920, the company went public with a share capital of GBP500,000. Thomas Francis Howell remained chairman and John Hugh Howell and William Frederick Howell became directors.
In 1924, the Wharton Street arcade was opened, linking the Wharton Street premises with the main store and, in 1931, a new four storey building was opened on the corner of Wharton Street and St Mary Street. During the years of depression and war in the 1930s and 1940s, trade was slow due to price regulations and rationing. The 1950s saw both an improvement in trade and the introduction of a new management team with Alfred Thorpe as chairman and managing director.
Once again, the store was extensively modernised and in 1955 a motor division, Howell's Garage & Commercial Vehicles Ltd (later renamed to Howell's Garages (Cardiff) Ltd) commenced business acquiring several Austin dealers. In 1959, a branch store of Reynolds & Co of Newport, Wales, which was situated next to Howells was acquired and incorporated into the main premises.
In October 1961, the controlling interest in James Howell & Co Ltd was acquired by J J Allan Ltd, department store retailers, Bournemouth, England. However, this shareholding was resold in 1962, and the company was acquired by the Hodge Group in March 1963. In April 1972, the department store division was separated from the motors division and sold to House of Fraser Ltd, department store retailers, Glasgow, Scotland. The store joined the Dingles Division within the Fraser group and continued trading as Howells at 14-18 St Mary Street, Cardiff, as part of House of Fraser plc in 2008.
Records held for James Howell & Co Ltd:
Related People and Companies: