Mercantile agency


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Mercantile agency

An organization that supplies credit ratings and reports on firms that are prospective customers.

Dun & Bradstreet

A company specializing in the investigation of credit worthiness, financial standing, and/or reputation of other businesses. It provides this information to third parties for a fee. Some mercantile agencies compile information into large databases, which they then distribute to subscribers. The first mercantile agency was founded in 1841 in New York under the name of "Mercantile Agency," and it is now known as Dun & Bradstreet. See also: Business intelligence, Due diligence.
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For example, of the 12 stove, tin, and hardware stores that appeared in the mercantile agency reports in 1880 and operated within one block of the market, ten remained in business five years later.
An even more telling example of the market's impact on business success can be found in an examination of the drygoods stores that appear in the Mercantile Agency Report for 1880.
Lee Berkowitz is president of Paper & Allied Trades Mercantile Agency, Inc.