A department store is a retail establishment which specializes in selling a wide range of products without a single predominant merchandise line. Department stores usually sell products including apparel, furniture, appliances, electronics, and additionally select other lines of products such as paint, hardware, toiletries, cosmetics, photographic equipment, jewelery, toys, and sporting goods. Certain department stores are further classified as discount department stores. Discount department stores commonly have central customer checkout areas, generally in the front area of the store. Department stores are usually part of a retail chain of many stores situated around a country or several countries.
Aristide Boucicaut founded Le Bon Marché in Paris in 1838, and by 1852 it offered a wide variety of goods in "departments" inside one building. Goods were sold at fixed prices, with guarantees allowing exchanges and refunds. By the end of the 19th century, Georges Dufayel, a French credit merchant, had served up to three million customers and was affiliated with La Samaritaine, a large French department store established in 1870 by a former Bon Marché executive.
As Le Bon Marché evolved into a fully fledged department store in the early 1850s, Delany's New Mart opened in 1853 in Dublin, Ireland on Sackville Street (now O'Connell Street). What made Delany's different from most department stores of its time was its purpose-built nature; unlike others it had not evolved gradually from a smaller shop on site. Constructed to a lavish standard on the city's principal street, it was designed to rival the biggest and best in Europe. Acquired by the Clery family in the late 19th century, both the store and Imperial Hotel located in its upper floors were completely destroyed in the 1916 Easter Rising. However the store reopened in 1922, this time across numerous floors, as the famous Clerys department store that stands today, housed in a striking modern neoclassical building based on Selfridges of London.
Another claimant to the title of "World's first department store" is Bainbridges in Newcastle upon Tyne, founded in 1838 as a drapers and fashion shop but on record as collecting its takings by department as early as 1849. The ledger from that year still survives in the archives of the John Lewis Partnership who bought the store in 1952, and retained its original name until 2002 when the store was rebranded as John Lewis Newcastle. That is sorted goods out into Departments in 1849, three years before Le Bon Marche in Paris did the same, there is a strong case for Bainbridges being the world's original department store.
David Jones (Australia) was started by David Jones was a Welsh merchant who met Hobart businessman Charles Appleton in London. Appleton had established a store in Sydney in 1825 and Jones subsequently established a partnership with Appleton, moved to Australia in 1835, and the Sydney store became known as Appleton & Jones. When the partnership was dissolved in 1838, Jones moved moved his business to premises on the corner of George Street and Barrack Lane, Sydney. Jones survived the depression of the 1840s, and by 1856 had retired from active management of the business. A few years later when the firm failed he returned to manage its affairs and in a few years had fully discharged all obligations to his creditors. By 1887, the George Street store had been rebuilt and a mail order facility introduced. A factory was opened in Marlborough Street, Sydney to reduce reliance on imported goods. David Jones is claimed to be the oldest department store in the world still trading under its original name.
Lewis's (United Kingdom) may have been the first most progressive department store group. By 1956 it had the largest stores in the provinces of the UK and had brought the idea of department selling across the country. It started in Liverpool in 1856 and catered for all classes aiming to have the highest quality and lowest prices. David Lewis may have been the catalyst to making tea easily available to the working classes. (Lewis's 2/- tea). It did this by buying the tea direct from the shippers from its home in Liverpool and cutting out the middle man. Lewis's also experimented in new ways of advertising (e.g. flooding the basement of the Manchester store to create a mini Venice.) It's grotto's always were and still are well known through generations of people from Northern Britain. Since 1856 it had stores in Manchester (1877), Liverpool (1856), Birmingham , Glasgow, Liverpool (The Bon Marche), Leeds, Hanley, London (Selfridges),Bristol and Leicester . The group's first and final store, in Liverpool, went into administration in 2007 and was purchased as a going concern by Vergo Retail Limited. Enabling the store to continue trading under the Lewis's brand.
In New York City in 1846, Alexander Turney Stewart established the "Marble Palace" on the east-Broadway, between Chambers and Reade streets. He offered European retail merchandise at fixed prices on a variety of dry goods, and advertised a policy of providing "free entrance" to all potential customers. Though it was clad in white marble to look like a Renaissance palazzo, the building's cast iron construction permitted large plate glass windows. In 1862 Stewart built a department store on a full city block at Broadway and 9th Street, opposite Grace Church, with eight floors and nineteen departments of dress goods and furnishing materials, carpets, glass and china, toys and sports equipment, ranged around a central glass-covered court. Within a couple of decades, New York's retail center had moved uptown, forming a stretch of retail shopping from "Marble Palace" that was called the "Ladies' Mile". In 1858 Rowland Hussey Macy founded Macy's as a dry goods store. Benjamin Altman and Lord & Taylor soon competed with Stewart as New York's first department stores, later followed by "McCreary's" and, in Brooklyn, "Abraham & Straus." (The Straus family would be in the management of both Macy's and A&S.)
Similar developments were under way in London (with Whiteleys), in Paris (with La Samaritaine) and in Chicago, where department stores sprang up along State Street, notably Marshall Field and Company, which was the second-largest department store in the world prior to converting to Macy's. In 1877, Wanamaker's opened in Philadelphia. Philadelphia's John Wanamaker performed a 19th century redevelopment to the former Pennsylvania Railroad terminal in that city and eventually opened a modern day department store in the building.
On March 1, 1869 Zion's Cooperative Mercantile Institution was opened in Salt Lake City as a new community store that became the first incorporated department store in America in 1870. A new 3-story brick and iron store was built in 1876, noted for its unique architecture and striped awnings. This store was replaced by an enclosed shopping center in 1973, and the new Zion department store preserved the gilt-edged ornate facade of the old store. In 1999 the May Department Stores bought a 14-store ZCMI chain and changed its name to "Meier & Frank", a May property with eight stores in Oregon and Washington. Subsequently May Department Stores completed a merger with Federated Department Stores and the Meier & Frank brand ZCMI stores have become Macy's stores, effective late 2006.
In 1881, Joseph Lowthian Hudson opened a small men's clothing store in Detroit. After 10 years he had 8 stores in the midwest and was the most profitable clothing retailer in the country. In 1893 he began construction of the immense department store at Gratiot and Farmer streets in Detroit. The 25-story tower was added in 1928, and a 12-story addition in 1946, giving the entire complex 49 acres of floor space. In 1954 the company became a suburban shopping center pioneer when it built Northland 13 miles northwest of Detroit. In 1969 it merged with the Dayton Corporation to create Dayton-Hudson headquartered in Minneapolis. George Dayton had founded his Dayton's Daylight store in Minneapolis in 1902 and the AMC cooperative in 1912, built the Southdale Shopping Center in 1956, and started the Target discount store chain in 1962. The new corporation closed the flagship Hudson department store in downtown Detroit in 1983, but expanded its other retail operations. It acquired Mervyn's in 1978, Marshall Field's in 1990, and renamed itself the Target Corporation in 2000.
By 1890 a new world of retailing had been created as department stores had a clear market position as universal providers. General stores eventually became department stores as small towns became cities. The most prominent department stores emerged from small shops. The department store created several of North America's first large businesses. The department store is also largely responsible for the standard store design seen today, because of its size it required new building materials, glass technology and new heating, amongst other architectural innovations. The store layouts made shopping easier for consumers regardless of their social or economic background. The department store also offered new customer services never before seen such as restaurants, restrooms, reading rooms, home delivery, wrapping services, store hours, bridal registries, new types of merchandise displays and so forth.
Some department stores leased space to individual merchants, similar to the changes in late 17th-century London, but by 1900 the smaller merchants were purchased or eventually replaced by the larger companies. In this way they were very similar to our modern malls, where the property owner has no direct interest in the actual department store itself, other than to collect rent and provide utilities. Today only the most specialized departments are leased out, such as photography, photo finishing, automotive services or financial services. However, today this is rare, as most departments--even a store's restaurant--is usually run by the store itself.
Before the 1950s, the department store held an eminent place in both Canada and Australia, during both the Great Depression and World War II. Since then, they have suffered from strong competition from specialist stores. Most recently the competition has intensified with the advent of larger-scale superstores (Jones et al. 1994; Merrilees and Miller 1997). Competition was not the only reason for the department stores' weakening strength; the changing structure of cities also affected them. The compact and centralized 19th century city with its mass transit lines converging on the downtown was a perfect environment for department store growth. But as residents moved out of the downtown areas to the suburbs, the large, downtown department stores became inconvenient and lost business to the newer suburban shopping malls.
From its origins in the fur trade, the Hudson's Bay Company is the largest department store operator in Canada, and the oldest corporation in North America, with locations across the country. It also owns Zellers, another major Canadian department store. Other department stores in Canada are: Sears Canada, Walmart Canada, Canadian Tire and Holt Renfrew. Historically, department stores were a significant component in Canadian economic life, and chain stores such as Eaton's, Spencer's, and Woodward's were staples in their respective communities. Department stores in Canada are similar in design and style to department stores in the United States.
Albeit relatively small, the domestic Chilean retail market has proved fiercely competitive with several department stores sprouting in Santiago and then expanding north and south of the country. Leading department stores today include Falabella, Ripley, Almacenes París, La Polar, Sodimac, Johnson's, and Corona. Fallabella, founded in 1889, has opened branches in Argentina, Colombia, and Peru, with París -its main Chilean competitor- coming on its heels.
Department stores first appeared in China at the beginning of the 20th Century, the concept said to be introduced by expatriate Chinese living in Australia. Before 1949, there were four main department stores in Shanghai: Wing On, Sincere, Sun Sun and Yat Sun; the first two still exist today.
During World War II patriotic sentiment in China had led to the formation of a number of department stores specializing in locally-made merchandise. These types of stores became the mainstay in China after the formation of the Communist state in 1949.
Both types of department stores have long had branches in Hong Kong; however Japanese department stores began to appear in the 1960s, and within a generation's time became the dominant force in the market. The Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s had resulted in the closures of some of these stores, but on the whole Hong Kong still has one of the world's most competitive retail markets.
Since the opening policy in 1979, the Chinese department stores also develops swiftly along with the fast growing economy. There are different department store groups dominate different areas of China, for example, INTIME department store has the biggest market presence in Zhejiang province, while Jinying department stores dominate Jiangsu Province. Besides, there are many other department store groups, such as Pacific,PARKSON,Wangfujing，New World，etc., many of them are expanding quickly by listing in the financial market.
The most famous department store chain in Cyprus is Debenhams (former Woolworths (Cyprus)).
The most famous department store chains in Finland are Stockmann, a listed company, and Sokos, owned by a nationwide retailing cooperative. The Stockmann department store in central Helsinki is the biggest department store in the entire Nordic countries and a famous landmark of Helsinki.
France's major upscale department stores are Galeries Lafayette and Le Printemps, which both have flagship stores on Boulevard Haussmann in Paris and branches around the country. The oldest department store in France (and in the world) is Le Bon Marché in Paris, owned by the luxury goods conglomerate LVMH. La Samaritaine, another upscale department store also owned by LVMH, closed in 2005. Mid-range department stores chains also exist in France such as the BHV (Bazar de l'Hotel de Ville), part of the same group as Galeries Lafayette.
Indonesia's largest department store chain is Ramayana with over ninety branches across the country. The same group also operated under Robinsons and Cahaya (acquired in 1990s), all targeting the lower income sectors. Other local department store is Matahari, now owned by Lippo Group. The group previously managed to trade under Mega M, Galeria, JC Penney and Walmart brands, all of which have been progressively closed. Soon, the group will be opening the first Parisian Department Store in Indonesia. The middle up segment is mainly occupied by Metro Department Store originated from Singapore and Sogo. In 2007 saw the re-opening of Jakarta's Seibu, poised to be the largest and second most upscale department store in Indonesia after Harvey Nichols, which will be opened in 2008 at the same shopping centre.
Originally the Republic of Ireland had two department stores, Clerys and Arnotts, the latter considered to be one of the five largest stores in Britain and Ireland. However several large retailers now own chains of department stores, such as:
The most upmarket chain is undoubtedly Brown Thomas, founded as a haberdasher's in 1849 on Dublin's Grafton Street. The company (which belongs to the same group as the UK's Selfridges or Canada's Holt Renfrew) bought its long time competitor across the street, Switzers, in 1995. BT then moved to the larger site. It also acquired and re-branded the former Switzer stores in Cork (formerly Cash's), Limerick (formerly Todd's) and Galway (formerly Moon's).
There are also many self-owned department stores around the country, especially in rural towns.
The British department store, Debenhams, purchased the Roches Stores chain in 2006, closed two stores and rebranded the others. The opening of Dundrum Town Centre in Dublin's suburbs saw the arrival of two more British stores, House of Fraser and Harvey Nichols.
Some of the largest department stores in Japan include Daimaru (J. Front Retailing), Hankyu (H2O Retailing), Hanshin (H2O Retailing), Isetan (Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings), Marui, Matsuzakaya (J. Front Retailing), Matsuya, Mitsukoshi (Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings), Printemps Ginza, Seibu (Millennium Retailing), Sogo (Millennium Retailing), Takashimaya, Tobu, and Tokyu (109). Many are owned and operated in conjunction with private railway companies. Recently, business integration has been successive.
In Germany there are a number of department stores. There are three big department store companies, Karstadt (part of Arcandor AG, also operating the KaDeWe and two Wertheim department stores in Berlin and the Alsterhaus in Hamburg), Hertie and Kaufhof (part of the Metro AG). There are also some smaller independent department stores. Some department stores only sell clothing. The biggest clothing department store chain is C&A. Larger department stores in Germany usually contain a self-service restaurant, clothing departments, a toy department, a department for computer and electronics, a small book department (for bestsellers), a department for newspapers and magazines and a food department (like a supermarket).
One of the most famous department stores in Germany is the Kaufhaus des Westens (KaDeWe, German for department store of the west) which is located in Berlin.
The most well-known department store in Kuwait is Villa Moda
Since the 1980s, Malaysia has opened its doors to many foreign chains, such as Tesco, Carrefour, Aeon (JUSCO), Makro, Sogo, etc. All of these foreign stores must join ventures with local partners.
Many of home grown department store chains include Parkson, Giant, Metrojaya, Cold Storage, Sunshine (SuiWah), The Store, Kamdar, Mydin, Dua Puluh Sen (DPS) etc.
According to the Malaysian chart, Dua Puluh Sen has increase their quality of standard which lead them gaining market share in the retailing industry in Malaysia. This had made DPS the leading department store in Malaysia and also South East Asia.
Mexico has a number of department stores, including the Mexican chains Liverpool, El Palacio de Hierro, Suburbia, Sanborns, Sears Mexico. There are also foreign stores such as JCPenney
In New Zealand, there is only a few select department stores that are popular amongst New Zealanders, most people preferring malls or boutiques. The most prominent chains are The Warehouse, Farmers and Kmart, but smaller, more upmarket department stores such as Smith & Caugheys exist, but the only store is in Auckland, and caters to an upscale crowd.
Panama's first department stores such as Bazaar Francés, La Dalia and La Villa de Paris started as textile retailers at the turn of the nineteenth century. Later on in the twentieth century these eventually gave way to stores such as Felix B. Maduro, Sarah Panamá, Figali, Danté, Sears, Gran Morrison and smaller ones such as Bon Bini, Cocos, El Lider, Piccolo and Clubman among others. Of these only Felix B. Maduro (usually referred to as Felix by locals) and Danté remain strong. All the others have either folded or declined although Cocos has managed to secure a good position in the market. Today major department stores aside from these two include Steven's and Collin's. There are also many discount department stores such as Conway which includes a furniture and decoration department named Conway Design, La Onda, Dorian's, Saks, Madison Store and El Titan among others.
In the Philippines, The first department stores we're located in Metro Manila named SM Prime Holdings and Rustan's. Now, it holds more than 100 department stores. They alread existed for quite some time, but it was through Shopping Malls that granted the public easier access to the Department Stores as well as sense of cleanliness, trust, and security. The department stores in the Philippines can be serve as part of an anchor tenant inside shopping malls. The SM Supermalls and the Robinsons Malls are two of the country's most popular mall chains, all of which has Department Store sections.
Portugal have two department stores operated by El Corte Inglés, one in Lisbon Metropolitan Area, other in Porto Metropolitan Area. In Portugal, Department stores don't reach all the country because of success of supermarkets chains like Modelo, owned by Sonae, Intermarche and Pingo Doce owned by Jeronimo Martins.
The most well-known department stores in The Netherlands are De Bijenkorf, HEMA, Maison de Bonneterie and Vroom & Dreesmann.
The most popular department stores in Thailand are Central Department Store which are managed by Central Group. These are the list of department stores in Thailand
Arguably the most famous Department store in Russia is the GUM in Moscow, Central Universal Store (TsUM) or the Petrovsky Passage. Other popular stores are Mega (shopping malls), Stockmann, Marks & Spencer. Media Markt, M-video, Technosila, White Wind (Beliy Veter) sell large number of electronic devices. In Saint Petersburg The Passage has been popular since the 1840s.
Most department stores are clustered around Orchard Road in Singapore. The most well-known department stores in Singapore are BHG (formally known as Seiyu), Isetan, John Little, Marks & Spencer, Metro, Mustafa, OG, Robinson & Co., Takashimaya and Tangs. Some of their branch outlets can also be found in the sub-urban shopping malls.
The three most prevalent chains are Hyundai, Lotte, and Shinsegae, which opened in 1930 as Mitsukoshi Gyeongseong store and is the oldest department store chain.
Lotte is the largest, operating more than 20 stores. The
Seoul Sampoong department store collapsed in 1995 during shopping hours and many people died.
Following the 2002 closure by the Australian group Partridges of their SEPU (Sociedad Espanol de Precios Unicos) department store chain, which in fact was Spain's oldest, the market is now dominated by El Corte Inglés, founded in 1934 as a drapery store. El Corte Inglés stores tend to be vast buildings, selling a very broad range of products and the group also controls a number of other retail formats including discount store 'Hipercor'. Other competitors such as 'Simago' and 'Gallerias Preciados' closed in the 1990s, however El Corte Inglés, faces major competition from French discount operators such as Carrefour and Auchan.
The largest department store chain in Sweden is Åhléns, which operates stores throughout the country. Its flagship Stockholm store, Åhléns City, is the largest department store in Sweden. Other large stores are Nordiska Kompaniet in Stockholm and Gothenburg, and PUB in Stockholm.
The Swiss retail market is dominated by two consumers' cooperatives, Migros and Coop, which also run department stores. Migros operates 12 upscale Globus department stores and 34 mid-range Migros MMM centers across the country. Since the acquisitions of EPA in 2002, Coop operates its mid-range department stores under the brand Coop City. Manor operates department stores throughout the country. Jelmoli and Loeb operate upscale department stores in Zurich and Berne respectively.
Most of the early department stores in London started out as small drapery stores which bought up neighbouring stores and increased their range of products.
However, Kendals in Manchester can lay claim to being the oldest department store in the UK and perhaps in the world. Beginning as a small shop owned by S. and J. Watts in 1796, its sold a variety of goods. Kendal Milne and Faulkner purchased the business in 1835. Expanding the space, rather than use it as a typical warehouse simply to showcase textiles, it became a vast bazaar. Serving Manchester's upmarket clientel for over 200 years, it was recently purchased by the House of Fraser - although most Mancunians still refer to it as Kendals.
In Edinburgh, Jenners saw a similar development. It starting as a drapery store in 1838, which by 1890 had grown into Scotland's largest retail store by gobbling up all the small stores in the neighbourhood. In 1895, after a devastating fire, a new ultra-modern building opened, with lavish electrical lighting, hydraulic lifts and air conditioning. Four hours after the grand opening, 25,000 people had already visited the store.
In the UK the term "department store" still refers to the traditional, classic department store, which has a wide range of independent departments with their own staff and their own tills. Large discount stores with the tills located by the entrance are not regarded as department stores in the UK, although the owners may call them that. Such stores as Marks & Spencer, Britain's largest clothes retailer would therefore not be included in the British definition of a department store.
In the United States, companies such as Macy's, Lord and Taylor, Sears, and J.C. Penney are considered department stores, while retail brands such as Target, Kmart, and Wal-Mart are discount department stores. T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and Burlington Coat Factory are stores that sell designer goods at lower prices. Stores that carry a general line of groceries and other product lines similar to those of department stores are considered warehouse clubs or supercenters. Warehouse clubs require a nominal annual membership fee, while supercenters do not. Costco, BJ's Wholesale Club, and Sam's Club are examples of warehouse clubs.
Some upscale department stores that operate in the United States include national chains like Barneys New York, Bloomingdale's, Lord & Taylor, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as regional retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman, and Von Maur. In the United Kingdom, department stores making up the high-end include Harvey Nichols, Harrods and Fortnum and Mason. In Indonesia, the most upscale department stores includes Sogo and Seibu from Japan, Debenhams and Harvey Nichols from United Kingdom (all managed by PT. Mitra Adiperkasa Tbk.), and Parisian from Indonesia (managed by Lippo Group)
Mid-Scale Department Stores
Depending upon location, Belk, Dillard's and Macy's, are sometimes considered upscale department stores, but the chains overall are often viewed as being situated somewhere between midscale and higher midscale.
Mid-Range Department Store
Characteristics of a mid-range department store may include:
Comparison to Upscale Department Store
Mid-range department stores that operate in the United States include national chains JCPenney and Kohl's. Regional chains such as Gottschalks and Mervyns in the western United States, and The Bon-Ton and associated stores in the northern part of the country are also among this grouping of stores.
As noted in details of upscale department stores, Macy's, Dillard's and Belk vary in price points and relative consideration as upscale or mid-range versus local competitors, depending upon location. Some larger locations in affluent areas often carry significant selections of brand name products including brand name accessories and fragrances kept in glass cases, and usually have cosmetic specialists in the beauty department. Brands at above-average price points, if offered at all, are generally limited and full product lines of such brands are not typically available. Smaller and more remote store locations — often, the legacy of acquisitions of smaller retailers — may concentrate squarely on moderately-priced merchandise. California-based Gottschalks mirrors these chains, though in a specific region with little presence in major metropolitan areas. Macy's are typically the anchors of upscale malls and are situated among other high-end department stores such as Tysons Galleria or The Domain in Austin. Nationally known JCPenney has incorporated elements of upscale stores such as salons and custom home decorating services, along with offering optical shops, portrait photography studios and designer-produced private labels.
The national chain Sears is also in this category, but often is considered a lower grade mid-range department store due to marketing a higher proportion of private label and lesser-known label goods in apparel and housewares segments. Sears differs from most mid-range department store chains in its common inclusion of departments for hardware, garden and outdoor equipment, automotive service, and large appliances and electronics — product segments more typical of discount or so-called "big box" retailers.
Discount Department Store/Super-Store
Comparison to Mid-Range Department Stores
Some discount department stores that operate in the United States include: ShopKo, Kmart and Wal-Mart. Although ShopKo and Kmart are more upscale than Wal-Mart; further, Wal-Mart could be considered a "super discount department store". Target is also in this category but may be considered a more upscale Discount Department Store because it puts a greater emphasis on current fashion and on special merchandise lines from well-known designers such as Isaac Mizrahi and Thomas O'Brien.
Off-price retail department stores include T.J. Maxx, Factory 2-U, Century 21, Gabriel Brothers, Ross Dress For Less, Marshalls, and Burlington Coat Factory. TJX, the parent company of Marshall's and TJ Maxx, has been experimenting with Home Goods superstores that carry a larger range and variety of housewares, including furniture.