General Merchandise

The term ‘retail apocalypse’ gained widespread use amid the massive number of closures of brick-and-mortar retail stores due to the rapid growth of e-commerce and changing consumer patterns. In North America and Europe, this phenomenon has crippled traditional shopping formats such as malls, high street retail, and department stores. In the past years, there has been a decline in the number of department stores as well as malls across these regions. Now more than ever, retailers are seeing the need to focus on turning their stores into experiential spaces, as a way of getting customers to walk through their doors once again.
Meanwhile, the outlook of convenience stores is slightly different. In North America, this sector has proven to be one of the most recession-proof retail channels. As communities are being advised to stay local amid the coronavirus, consumers in North America and the UK are relying on convenience stores more than ever.

Vacancy rate in U.S. malls
Retail store closures in the UK in 2020
Department stores sales growth in Western Europe

Market size

Brick-and-mortar retail is still alive
In-store and e-commerce retail sales worldwide from 2020 to 2024 (in trillion U.S. dollars)
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In-store retail will continue to represent the largest share of retail sales worldwide and global sales of convenience stores will keep growing. In Europe, convenience and discount sales were forecast to account for nearly 40 percent of the total grocery sales, Germany being one of the leaders in the discount segment. However, department store sales growth was forecast to fall in the UK, while in the U.S. sales have continuously shown a downward trend since the beginning of the 2000s.

Global convenience store sales
European grocery sales, by channel
U.S. department store sales

Market segments

A shift in mall and department store strategies
Sales growth forecast of department stores in Western Europe from 2017 to 2022, by country
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Fueled by consumer demand for food and non-retail services like health care, shopping centers are shifting their strategy from anchoring to major department stores to offering a more varied mix of retailers. Department stores like J.C. Penney, along with other U.S. mall-based retailers, closed thousands of stores in the U.S., continuing with the downward trend in the industry’s sales. Yet, department stores are expected to recover by adopting innovative approaches to attract consumers.

Shopping centers in the United States
Shopping centers in the United Kingdom
Shopping centers in Latin America

Industry trends

Unification of brick-and-mortar, technology, and e-commerce
Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2024 (in billion U.S. dollars)
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Convenience stores, department stores, and malls are increasing their efforts to enter digital channels to provide a fully integrated experience. In 2020, top department stores and discounters like Macy’s, Walmart, and Target ranked amongst the leading brands with the highest e-commerce sales and had some of the most popular mobile shopping apps in the U.S. Meanwhile, convenience stores worldwide are establishing delivery services using third-party operators to expand their customer reach.

Top U.S. retailers by online sales
Top U.S. mobile shopping apps
Convenience stores delivery U.S.

Industry leaders

7-Eleven, the king of convenience
Number of 7-Eleven stores worldwide as of January 2020, by country
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7-Eleven is present in almost every region of the world positioning itself as the leading convenience brand in terms of store number. Other industry leaders include Oxxo, the biggest convenience store in Latin America, and the Canadian brand Circle K. In terms of warehouse clubs, the United States is home to the world’s top players. Sam’s Club, Costco, and PriceSmart combined operated over 1,400 stores worldwide. In 2019 alone, warehouse clubs generated over 500 billion U.S. dollars in the U.S.

Couche-Tard stores worldwide
Costco Warehouse Corporation
U.S. warehouse club retail sales

Industry definition

Statista offers a wide range of statistics on general merchandise including convenience stores and gas stations, shopping centers, department stores, discount and dollar stores, supercenters and hypermarkets, and warehouse clubs. In terms of convenience stores, statistics on frequency of visits, sales, and the number of stores are provided. Data on shopping centers include the largest and busiest malls, vacancy rates, as well as information on shopping center operators. Regarding department stores, discounter and dollar stores, and supercenter and hypermarkets, statistics about industry leaders and their financial performance are included. Finally, the warehouse club section comprises information on the main players and their key facts.


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