Owen Owen opened a drapery shop at 121 London Road in Liverpool. Over the years the store expanded, but when the city's retail focus moved away from the London Road area, the Owen family lent the company the money to move to a better position on Clayton Square where a large purpose-built department store was erected. The company then purchased rival chain T J Hughes and moved that firm's Liverpool store into the empty London Road premises.
Owen Owen then expanded by building a store in Coventry, which was bombed during World War II. After the war it continued to expand, purchasing G W Robinson in Canada and adding other stores to the UK portfolio, the Coventry store being rebuilt on a slightly different site.A subsidiary company, Plumb (Contract Furnishers and Shopfitters) Ltd., was created from its own shopfitting department, and had offices at Bishop Street, Coventry and Kempston Street, Liverpool.
In the 1980s the Owen family sold the business. T J Hughes was split off and G W Robinson sold. In 1991 the firm purchased several Lewis's stores from administration and was known briefly under the business name of 'Lewis's Owen Owen', before being taken over by Philip Green.
Then, in early 2005, Philip Green sold his stake in the business to David Thompson who began a new phase of expansion at Owen Owen, acquiring Joplings and Robbs from the now defunct Merchant Retail Group and purchasing Esslemont & MacIntosh from the Esslemont family. The Owen Owen brand name was no longer used, but remained the name of the operating company.
On 28 February 2007 Owen Owen entered administration. The reason claimed for Owen Owen's demise was the disruption in Liverpool city centre caused by the Big Dig. The Aberdeen, Esslemont & MacIntosh, store was closed down on 5 May 2007. Also in May 2007, however, the Liverpool, Hexham and Sunderland stores were sold as a going concern to Vergo Retail Ltd., controlled by the previous owner of Owen Owen, David Thompson, and enabling the stores to continue to trade.