Handleman Company

The Handleman Company



The original company was established as a partnership distributing pharmaceuticals in 1934 and had achieved over $30 billion in revenue since its founding. During the 1950s the company made a decision that proved to be crucial to its future growth: it began wholesaling records. Eventually stocking the racks for major retailers like Kmart, Wal-Mart, and Woolworth, Handleman became better at managing record displays than a large store could be. By 1980 the firm stocked records at over 8,000 retail stores. It was a tough year for record sales, with sales across the entire industry declining. Despite these troubles, in 1980 the company became the largest record and tape wholesaler in the United States, moving past the Pickwick division of American Can.

The number of music retail departments serviced by Handleman had grown to 6,500. The firm serviced even more video departments–7,400, book sales in 2,600 retail departments, and now serviced 4,700 software retail departments. Handleman remained heavily dependent on its two largest customers. Kmart, which was experiencing financial trouble, accounted for 40 percent of Handleman’s sales, while Wal-Mart accounted for 25 percent.

In 1992, Cinemagic Marquee approached the Handleman Company about a partnership offering it’s patented technology for over 21,200 department locations. Grand Metropolitan began negotiations to purchase certain assets of the Handleman Company in 2008. We finalized our efforts in 2014 and are rebuilding product lines and holdings.

The Handleman Company hopes to again supply mass merchandisers and big box retailers with a new line of proprietary products in 2015. Cinemagic Marquee is being folded under the company banner.