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).
Technology and changing shopping preferences, particularly among younger consumers, are disrupting the retail industry. Online giant Amazon is poised to overtake Macy's as the biggest US seller of apparel (a major category for department stores) in 2018, according to The Financial Times. Department stores also face competition from other digital retail platforms, such as YouTube, that offer transactional functionality direct from video. New digital marketplaces also offer a social component and sense of community desired by the next generation of consumers.
Products, Operations & Technology
Major products sold include apparel (about 55% of US sales for the industry) and cosmetics, footwear and appliances (11%, 9%, and 5% of sales, respectively). Apparel includes women's, men's, and children's clothing. Cosmetics include makeup, skin care, hair care, and fragrances. Appliances include refrigerators, stoves, washers, dryers, and dishwashers. Companies may also sell kitchenware, bedding, towels, and sheets. Services may include gift wrapping, gift registries, delivery, appliance installation, and personal shopping.