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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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.
The city's street directories and assessment rolls from 1881 to 1915 indicated that the pattern of success for near-market businesses was even more localized than that suggested by the Mercantile Agency records.