In slowdowns of years past, many retailers owned their own charge card portfolio. That meant something powerful. A retailer could talk directly to its consumers, without someone like GE as an intermediary, and run specials, reduce financing or in general juke up sales.
This option has gone from most retailers. Above, a Thalhimers card, from just before the destructive May Company ruined a great Virginia institution. Perhaps retailers might again think of store credit as a way to buy them some sales. Today, its even easier, with software and such, but in the old days, a simple account number could ring up sales.