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Companies in this industry operate physical retail establishments that sell items such as clothing, cosmetics, footwear, and home furnishings, typically from registers within individual departments. Major companies include Dillard's, JCPenney, Macy's, and Sears (all based in the US), as well as Hudson's Bay Co. (Canada), Debenhams and Marks & Spencer (UK), El Corte Ingles (Spain), Galeria Kaufhof (Germany), Galeries Lafayette (France), and Isetan Mitsukoshi (Japan).
Department store sales have typically been strongest in Europe, Japan, and the US. Sales are recovering along with the global economy: the global department store market is forecast to grow by 22% between 2014 and 2019, boosted by a 38% increase in spending in China, according to Verdict Research.
The US department store industry includes about 20 companies that operate about 3,500 stores with a combined annual revenue of about $60 billion.
Department stores differ from discount department stores, such as Wal-Mart and Target, in that most department stores have checkout registers within individual merchandise departments instead of a central checkout area. A separate Discount Department Stores profile covers that industry.
Consumer spending and fashion trends drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on effective merchandising and marketing. Large companies have advantages in purchasing, distribution, and marketing. Small companies can compete effectively by offering unique merchandise, providing superior customer service, or delivering a distinctive store experience. The industry is highly concentrated: the top eight companies ...
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