For the first time, sales exceeded half a billion dollars, net earnings topped $14,000,000 and the Company now had over 20,000 full and part-time employees. Retail expansion was picking up steam. 'A' stores were opened in Saskatoon and Oshawa and 'B' stores were opened in Chicoutimi and Burlington.
The transformation of the Mail Order business began and it started with the name. By 1968 only one order in ten was coming in by mail. Over the next few years the four Mail Order Branches became Catalogue Centres. The Order Offices changed to Catalogue Sales Offices. And, in the retail stores, the Mail Order desk was renamed Catalogue Shopping. Ten new Catalogue Sales Offices were opened, bringing the total to 355 from coast to coast. In October, Simpsons-Sears declared that construction would soon begin on a new headquarters building in Toronto.
Sales were up almost 14% over the previous year, passing the $600,000,000 mark for the first time and earnings climbed to $15,000,000. A new store in Victoria opened on February 12th and the Meadowlark 'B' store in Edmonton was relocated and enlarged. The 'B' stores in Sarnia and Kingston also received extensive makeovers. 1969 also saw the introduction of the "Junior Bazaar" department of hip styles for teenage girls.
Simpsons-Sears managed to push its sales up slightly to just under $650,000,000 but net earnings dipped by about $2,000,000 from 1969. Five new retail stores were rolled out in 1970. An 'A' store in Windsor opened in September. Four 'B' stores came on line: Moncton in March, Kamloops in May, Winnipeg's Garden City in August and Lethbridge in October. That brought the total number of stores to 38.
Five big seasonal catalogues and eight supplementary sale books were issued as part of a stepped-up drive to increase sales. The number of Catalogue Sales Offices was increased to 475, up from 427 the year before. Alex Campbell, Vice-President, Retail, issued a clear and definitive declaration of the famous "Satisfaction Guaranteed or Money Refunded" policy to all retail associates.
The biggest and boldest Simpsons-Sears catalogue rolled off the presses and began arriving in Canadian homes early in the New Year. The Spring/Summer book contained a record 736 pages and listed over 50,000 items. Over two million copies of the English and French editions were distributed from coast to coast.
In the fall the construction of its new nine-storey Headquarters building at 222 Jarvis Street in Toronto was finished and 1,600 employees began moving in. They walked into one of the most spectacular structures ever built in Canada.
Four new retail stores opened in 1971. An 'A' store in Place Laurier gave Quebec City a second store to complement the original Fleur de Lys location. 'B' stores in Trois Rivières and Kelowna welcomed their first customers, and in Belleville, another 'B' store opened in the new Quinte Mall to replace an older small appliance and hardlines store. At year's end, Simpsons-Sears had 41 retail stores.
Simpsons-Sears Limited and Simpsons Limited embarked upon a new policy that put an end to the 25-mile radius agreement established in 1953. Any city in Canada could now be served by either a Simpsons or a Simpsons-Sears store, or both, as appropriate. This policy permitted both companies to develop new stores in areas previously denied to them. A new 'A' store was opened in Surrey, British Columbia. Another was opened in Hull, Quebec and the original Ottawa Carlingwood 'A' store was renovated and enlarged.
Moreover by the end of 1972, the Catalogue Division had an expanded stable of 575 Catalogue Sales Offices. The bottom line had never looked better. Sales reached a record $894,066,000 and earnings hit an all-time high of $26,252,000.