Eaton's was forced to re-evaluate its practices after Simpson's, its largest competitor, merged with Sears of the United States in 1953. Each district had done its own buying until, as part of a structural reorganization of the company, buying for both the stores and the catalogue was centralized in a Company Merchandise Office. Eaton's began to abandon manufacturing in the mid-1960s. In the 1960s, the catalogue was profitable only in the West and in Atlantic Canada, and by the early 1970s, the Eaton's catalogue was losing $17 million a year. In 1976, it ceased operations.

In 1900, three-quarters of Canadians lived on farms; by the 1970s, the population had shifted and three-quarters of Canadians lived in cities. Changing demographics is only one explanation for the closure of the mail-order department; Sears's mail order thrived after the Eaton's closure, tripling its sales. Management problems within Eaton's eventually led to the bankruptcy of the stores as well as the end of the catalogues.
by Catherine C. Cole

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