Department stores: Major trends transforming the retail landscape

Department stores: Major trends transforming the retail landscape

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Executive Summary

Department stores: Major trends transforming the retail landscape


In the increasingly competitive world of retail, department stores are struggling. This case study takes a close look at the major trends which have transformed the landscape in which department stores operate, how this has ultimately led to their downfall and whether they will be able to bounce back in the future.

Key Highlights

- Department stores have undoubtedly suffered as a result of the popularity of online retail and fast fashion, two trends which have drastically changed the needs and desires of the modern day customer.

- Department stores with a strong identity and clear target audience are best placed in the new environment, illustrating that department stores are not simply doomed, but that the poor performers are now feeling the implications of years of failing to adapt.

- There is a future for department stores in retail, but they are entering another period of fundamental change in how the sector is organized, and adapting to new challenges is critical.

- Implementing exciting technology into stores and excelling in the services that online retailers are unable to offer will be crucial for department stores that wish to thrive in the future.


- Examines the key trends which have impacted department stores

- Identifies the failures of those unwilling to adapt

- Analyzes department stores that are performing well

- Examines future trends that will effect stores

- Determines whether department stores have a future in retail

Reasons to buy

- What are the trends negatively impacting department stores?

- Which stores have failed to adapt to change?

- Which stores are doing well and why?

- What does the future hold for department stores?

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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications


Table of Contents

Overview 2

Catalyst 2

Summary 2

The dynamics of physical retail have changed, many have failed to adapt 5

A struggling high street has inevitably led to store closures 5

Online retail has become tough competition 6

Failure to bring online features into brick and mortar stores 7

Lack of appeal and in-store experience 7

Inability to keep up with fast fashion 8

Years of poor financial management 9

Some stores have adapted to trends and are performing well 11

High end department stores insulated from issues 11

Brands need a clear identity to stand out and attract customers 12

Strategic partnerships can be lucrative 13

Department stores can survive the online /digital era 15

Technology entering stores is the future of immersive shopping 15

Focus on developing aspects that online retailers can't offer 15

Localization of stores 16

Conclusions 17

Department stores won't go extinct, but only the most innovative will survive 17

Appendix 18

Sources 18

Further Reading 18

Ask the analyst 19

About MarketLine 19

Disclaimer 19

List of Figures

Figure 1: US store closures 5

Figure 2: United Kingdom online retail sector value: USD million, 2013-17 6

Figure 3: Debenhams new minibar feature will showcase travel-size items 8

Figure 4: Debenhams supply chain lead time is approximately 7 months 9

Figure 5: Sears Holdings Corporation revenue (USD bn) 2005 to 2017 10

Figure 6: Global luxury goods market value: USD billion, 2013-17 11

Figure 7: Mid-priced retailers are being squeezed 12

Figure 8: Selfridges is known for its vision and creativity 13

Figure 9: Amazon smart home experienced in Kohl's 14

Figure 10: The future of immersive shopping 15

Figure 11: Curated makers pop-up in Manchester 16

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