Department stores in the United States, such as Macy’s, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, and JC Penney, are large retail establishments that offer a wide range of products in several different departments including, but not limited to: apparel, accessories, home goods, electronics, cosmetics, and sporting goods . For over a decade, the department store industry in the United States has been struggling. From 2000 onwards, U.S. department store sales consistently fell, with many department store locations being closed year after year. Growing competition from online retailers, changing shopping preferences, and the temporary closures prompted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are among the factors that have contributed to the industry’s downward trend.
2021, a year of recovery for department stores?
2020 was a challenging year for retail, and department stores were heavily affected. United States department stores reached their lowest sales in years. Estimates calculate that as of the end of the year, sales amounted to 112 billion U.S. dollars, a decrease of nearly 17 percent in comparison to 2019. Retailers such as JC Penney, Stein Mart, and Neiman Marcus filed for bankruptcy and closed over 500 stores all together by the third quarter of the year.
Other major department stores also struggled, for example Macy’s sales plummeted by nearly 30 percent, and the company generated a net loss of nearly four billion U.S. dollars. However, 2021 saw a huge recovery in some of the leading department stores' net income. Macy's, Kohl's, and Dillard's achieved their highest net income totals for many years.
Shifting department store strategies
Retailers will be hoping that these improved figures translate into sustainable growth, rather than a short-term bounce-back from COVID-19. However, there must be a shift of strategies to halt the deterioration that has been haunting department stores over the last decade. Changing the store location from shopping centers to smaller branches or open-air malls, redesigning stores to work as showrooms, and, undoubtedly, creating a seamless omnichannel strategy, are some of the approaches department store retailers can and are undertaking in hope of resurgence. Other strategies include curating the product range, allowing click and collect, showcasing brands available exclusively online, and having a selection of second-hand items.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 26 most important statistics relating to "Department Stores in the U.S. ".