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Retailer Sy Syms Dies

Patricia Sullivan

Sy Syms, 83, the discount clothing retailer who told television viewers for 35 years that "an educated consumer is our best customer," died today of heart disease in New York City.

According to a press release, Mr. Syms founded his business in New York's financial district in 1959, and was the first retailer to sell off-price men's clothing. He narrated his well-known slogan in his first television commercial in 1974 and is used to this day. In 1983, when SYMS had expanded to 11 stores, Mr. Syms took the company public. He remained CEO of SYMS Corp. until 1998, when he was succeeded by daughter, Marcy. Mr. Syms continued as the company's chairman until his death.

Today, SYMS Clothing has 30 stores in 13 states. In June 2009, SYMS acquired Filene's Basement. The company currently operates 52 stores under the SYMS and Filene's Basement brands. SYMS branched out in 1980 to acquire the luxury haberdasher A. Sulka & Company, which it sold in 1989.

By Patricia Sullivan  |  November 17, 2009; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Patricia Sullivan  
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RIP, Sy. Condolences to Marcy and the rest of his family. I always enjoyed their commercials.

I hope the Madoff scandal didn't hasten this.

Posted by: MajorConfusion | November 17, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

In keeping with his company's slogan, do you think that Sy Syms purchased his casket from Wal-mMrt online?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | November 17, 2009 4:40 PM | Report abuse

I grew up watching his commercials in the New York City area. R.I.P. Sy.

Posted by: | November 17, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I have not been in a Sims store since I left New York City 30 years ago. He had a great store in lower Manhattan where I could buy designer brand shirts, suits, and ties. Thanks for all those good years Mr. Sims. Rest in Peace!

Posted by: truth1 | November 17, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse

Remember Syms from 1979 and outfitting myself for Wall Street. Back then the secret was buying Italian brown suits as this was where you got the best quality at the lowest prices. When President Reagan came into office I saw this as the reason President Reagan always wore brown suits.

Enjoyed the Saturday night movies sponsored by Syms on channel 13.

Posted by: bsallamack | November 17, 2009 8:13 PM | Report abuse

I always liked him, and I liked what he did for people with clothing. I'll miss what he brought to the marketplace, and he's someone I admired for decades.

Posted by: Nymous | November 17, 2009 8:37 PM | Report abuse

My sympathies to the Syms family.

I've adored shopping at Syms for years for myself. Most recently I bought my college age son two beautiful Italian-made suits. The quality is superb and the price - absolutely unbelievable. At any other store one suit would have been our limit - at Syms we were able to purchase two.

The quality, selection, and sales staff (shout out to the Norwood store in MA) keep us coming back.

Posted by: portiaperu | November 17, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

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