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The company went into administration in 1991 as a result of a combination of problems, including the recession and failing to compete effectively.

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Several stores in the chain were bought in 1991 by the company Owen Owen and continued to operate under the Lewis's brand name for several years, but after the closure of the Manchester store in 2002, only the original Liverpool store continued to trade under the Lewis's name.In a final attempt to arrest the decline, the remainder-clothing retailer TK Maxx was invited to trade from the basement floor.In 2002, the Manchester branch ceased trading; it is now occupied by a branch of Primark.In 1864, Lewis's branched out into women's clothing.In the 1870s, the store expanded and added departments, including shoes in 1874, and tobacco in 1879.The Manchester store included a full scale ballroom on the fifth floor, which was also used for exhibitions.

Buying offices were also located on the fifth floor until a takeover by Liverpool-based competitor Owen Owen (see below).

Lewis's were generally among the largest department stores in their respective localities.

In 1951, the Lewis's group purchased the famous London department store Selfridges and in 1965 became part of the Sears Group headed by Charles Clore.

In 1966, the group launched Miss Selfridge Fashions, which would later become a store chain in its own right.

A branch was opened on Blackpool promenade, next to Blackpool Tower, in 1964 on the site of the Alhambra.

The building had a distinctive 1960s design, with a turquoise tiled exterior.