Ed Hart, former PayLess chairman, passes away at 83

LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. Former PayLess Drug Stores chairman Ed Hart died Saturday at the age of 83, The Oregonian Staff reported Wednesday.

Hart, a PayLess employee for 41 years, retired as chairman in 1989.

PayLess was acquired by Kmart in 1985 and later Rite Aid in 1998.

Hart had introduced centralized buying, accounting and control systems to the chain through the late 1980s.

Hart first became a vice president of PayLess in 1963, was promoted to executive vice president four years later, and president six months after that. He was named chief executive officer in 1969 and became chairman in 1980.

During Hart’s management tenure, Pay Less merchandising was marked by aggressive experimentation in product mix and store formats—the chain had averaged an 18.9-percent return on equity for the 15 years before Kmart’s purchase, among the industry’s best ratios, according to a Feb. 6, 1989, Drug Store News report.

A gathering for family and friends is planned for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12, in Oswego Lake Country Club, The Oregonian paper reported.