To serve our customers and community efficiently and effectively; to act with integrity toward customers, associates and vendors; to maintain profitable growth and build long-term value for our shareholders.
To be the preeminent upscale off-price retailer in America.
The Stein Mart story began around 1905 when Sam Stein, a young immigrant walked across Europe to board a ship for America in search of a new life. His travels led him through Ellis Island to New York where he began a train ride that ended in Greenville, Mississippi, a small riverfront town in the cotton-rich bottomlands of the Mississippi Delta. "It is a typical story," recalls his grandson, Jay Stein, chairman/CEO of Stein Mart today. "He saw the bustling economy of the Mississippi Delta as an open door to opportunity." He began selling notions and piece goods door-to-door, calling on wealthy cotton planters and tenant farmers alike. As that business grew, he traded his horse and cart for a small store in Greenville which soon grew into one consuming a full city block.
In 1949, while liquidating excess merchandise in order to move from one location to another, Sam Stein's son, Jake Stein, seized upon the realization that he could develop an entirely new business by discounting prices and, therefore, draw from an enormous customer base previously untapped. It was in the new location in the 1970s that Jay Stein, working with his father, began to develop a more upscale business through special buys on designer and better merchandise. European suppliers were developed to provide the unique decor items found in Stein Mart today. "To our knowledge, there is no one else in the country who is duplicating the levels of taste, service and merchandise presentation represented by our stores," states Jay Stein.
Realizing that Greenville, Mississippi could not support the broad taste level of merchandise that the new concept offered, Jay Stein opened the first branch store in 1977 in Memphis, the closest large city, to overwhelming response. His vision of selling upscale merchandise at discount prices in an easy-to-shop, appealing environment became the blueprint for developing a highly successful chain of stores employing more nearly 20,000 people. Today, you can shop Stein Mart coast to coast.
In 1992 the company made its first offering of common stock to the public. Stein Mart stock is traded over the counter and quoted on the NASDAQ National Market System under the trading symbol SMRT. The corporate offices were relocated to Jacksonville, Florida in 1984. Sometimes referred to as a hybrid between upscale department stores and discounters, Stein Mart targets fashion-aware, value-conscious customers who typically shop at traditional department and fine specialty stores. Unlike much of the off-price competition, Stein Mart emphasizes a conventional specialty store approach to customer service, merchandise presentation and store design to attract this customer. Stein Mart's pricing structure is based on everyday low prices that are up to 60% below department store prices.