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Old Yesterday, 03:52 AM
 
18,389 posts, read 11,814,780 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PuppiesandKittens View Post
The department store sector seems to be suffering more than other retailers. Why?

I can see why Sears is failing (it's outclassed by plenty of other chains that have nicer stores and wider variety), but chains like Dillard's and Lord & Taylor are wonderful: nice stores with nice-quality clothes and home furnishings, and great selection. I'd much rather go to Lord & Taylor and be able to pick from a wide range of nice-quality clothes all in one store, at a good price, than have to go to 10 different smaller stores. It's just more efficient to buy everything in one place.

My only issue with department stores is that so few of them are left in downtowns; you usually have to go to the mall to go to a department store, and I prefer not to shop in a mall (driving there, dealing with a big parking lot and a look-alike indoor environment).

So, in your view, why are department stores on the way out? I truly do not understand why.

For the most part department stores are dying because their prime demographic (females) now have vastly different lives than they did late as the 1970's.


Basic idea of a modern department store merged conspicuous consumption of the rising middle class and of course the wealthy classes, but mainly addressed themselves to the women. After all men were at their office/job most of the day, and the new values fell to their wives to spend money in aid of dressing themselves, the children, servants, decorating the house, etc....


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_store


With more and more women entering the workforce you simply don't have as many "Ladies Who Lunch" set; the idle wealthy or better off woman who has hours to spend each day or week that need filling.


It was said that online sales would never take off because females "loved to shop". That is browse around, try on and touch things, etc... Well by 2000's that has largely changed. Even high end stores that cater to the well off are seeing more and more traffic from online than brick stores.


The vast numbers of middle class women are stressed between working, taking care of a husband and some kids so she appreciates being able to shop online or from her phone/tablet.


Of course people (women and men) still shop in brick stores, but not nearly enough of them to keep the numbers still open busy.


There are many other reasons as well.


Growth of discounts/sales has made consumers reluctant to buy at full price, and or they simply will wait for a sale. Black Friday discounts what once were had only day after Thanksgiving, now can be seen early as right after Halloween.


Also because of online brick stores find themselves limited as to pricing. People come into places with their phones and easily compare prices not between Gimbels and Macy's, but Nordstrom online, Amazon or any other internet retailer.


It costs plenty to keep those old barns of department stores open, staffed and stocked, all of it is a big risk if sales per square foot don't justify keeping the place open.
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Old Yesterday, 04:23 AM
 
6,107 posts, read 6,573,175 times
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Quote:
And most department stores have a hideous selection of things over size 14. These clothes are also hiding in the back, dark, dank section of the store.

With the rise of online shopping you get better selection and better customer experience. Why go to stores who treat you like a 3rd class citizen? When only 1-3 stores in the mall have your size - why would you go?
I'm sure you've probably done this....but just find stores and brands that work for you and support. them.

Everyone has the favorites and go-tos, which someone else may not like. But I love Dress Barn. I think it gets a very bad rep. It has nice things for casual and business/professional wear. Marina Rinaldi is one brand that I think is fantastic. And of course there's Jones New York which is excellent for business wear. On the other hand I am NOT too big a fan of Lane Bryant (too casual, and the offerings/styles are tired and just "OK"). And the Avenue, Catherines, and Ashley Stewart are not my thing. Even so, for me there are enough plus-sized offerings.

True, most designers/companies don't do plus sizes. Personally I'm pleased with those who do. But if you'd like more I can certainly understand.
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Old Yesterday, 09:11 AM
Status: "Christine Blasi Ford, Novelist and fiction author" (set 3 days ago)
 
Location: New York Area
13,529 posts, read 5,277,909 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
While I agree on line is a part of it, I think a much bigger part is poor management -- poor quality product, poor service, and poor selection.
And surly personnel.
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Old Yesterday, 09:51 AM
 
Location: Oakland, CA
26,923 posts, read 28,281,037 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by selhars View Post
I'm sure you've probably done this....but just find stores and brands that work for you and support. them.

Everyone has the favorites and go-tos, which someone else may not like. But I love Dress Barn. I think it gets a very bad rep. It has nice things for casual and business/professional wear. Marina Rinaldi is one brand that I think is fantastic. And of course there's Jones New York which is excellent for business wear. On the other hand I am NOT too big a fan of Lane Bryant (too casual, and the offerings/styles are tired and just "OK"). And the Avenue, Catherines, and Ashley Stewart are not my thing. Even so, for me there are enough plus-sized offerings.

True, most designers/companies don't do plus sizes. Personally I'm pleased with those who do. But if you'd like more I can certainly understand.
I do not ding there are enough fashion forward options, luxury options, sustainable options, minimalist options (Vince and Theory come to mind).

Most brands are pretty matronly. Also I am really glad Iíve never had to wear a suit to work - they I have never seen a slightly fashion forward and well cut option like what you may find at J.Crew or Theory.

Itís gotten better but many brands seem to miss the mark and create ill-fitting, low quality items in weird patterns and shapes.

Although Universal Standardís sizes donít often work for me, I am really happy it exists. I am really excited that their goal is to have the exact same clothing in sizes 00-40. While they started as a plus sized brand, theyíve broadened to be inclusive to everyone. (I think they have finished adding everything in 6-32, this clothing for everyone rollout is phased ). They have really good staples if you are more of a modern minimalist.
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Old Yesterday, 09:57 AM
 
Location: Raleigh
7,092 posts, read 5,265,106 times
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They aren't all dying. We miss that the good ones are still doing well. Belk (regional to the South) is usually busy and has nice stuff. Nordstroms, similar story.

Wal-Mart isn't going the way of K-Mart, because they're ahead of the game. I shop at Walmart weekly, but monthly I probably enter the store once a month. I put the order in online, drive up to the store and the order is carried to my car.
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Old Yesterday, 10:16 AM
 
Location: Queen Creek, AZ
4,705 posts, read 7,251,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JONOV View Post
They aren't all dying. We miss that the good ones are still doing well. Belk (regional to the South) is usually busy and has nice stuff. Nordstroms, similar story.

Wal-Mart isn't going the way of K-Mart, because they're ahead of the game. I shop at Walmart weekly, but monthly I probably enter the store once a month. I put the order in online, drive up to the store and the order is carried to my car.
Belk occupies an interesting position in the market - above JCPenney and Kohl's but below Macy's. They carry some of the brands that all three stores carry (Macy's used to carry IZOD at select locations and online, but was dropped after Fall 2017).
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Old Yesterday, 11:07 AM
 
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[quote=tnff;53606397]While I agree on line is a part of it, I think a much bigger part is poor management -- poor quality product, poor service, and poor selection.


I couldn't agree more. This is definitely what it is. Everyone wants to blame Amazon and online shopping, and while convenient, when it comes to apparel and accessories people still value the store experience and the need to try things on before buying. It all comes down to service. And secondly, product selection. As a veteran of the retail industry, I have first hand experience and saw how things changed drastically over time. I have worked in multiple management and merchandising roles for Neimans, Saks, Nordstrom and Dillard's. Time periods ranged from 2001-2009. I understand the industry very well and also as a consumer myself, it makes me more objective when I enter a store and have a shopping experience, having inside knowledge and understanding of how things may or may not be functioning.

The issue is two fold: customer service in most stores and department stores is all but non-existent. Even the luxury stores and boutiques where pay is strictly commission, they often won't pay you any attention unless they think you will spend a lot of money. Beyond that, speaking for retailers of every level, staff is generally underpaid, overworked, and training is basically non-existent. I loved the fashion business and knew a great deal about designers and how merchandise was manufactured etc, so for me it translated when working with clients. The average sales person doesn't know what I know and doesn't care to. That's when it comes down to proper training and product knowledge. Especially with a high-end clientele, it often was a matter of educating the consumer. I knew my inventory because I was often the one responsible for it. But the average hourly retail worker receives very little training as far as product knowledge. In my own experience, it is rare to find anyone that can truly help. They can recommend some things based off what they are told to promote, but the idea of true "service" has really disappeared. At 35, I sometimes wonder if I was reincarnated from an earlier era when visiting a store was really all about service and the customer experience. I know we don't expect this at Banana Republic or *insert whatever mall store you shop in*. It really all does goes back to poor management and training.

Secondly, having had a lot of experience in merchandising and buying, I was often confronted with a product assortment that was hard to sell, or items that a customer wanted or merchandise I know I could move but I had to say "we don't carry that at this location" or "that is only available online" or "we can order it for you". When a customer can stay in the comfort of their home and have literally the entire world of retail available to them at the click of a button, what is the incentive to go out and support brick and mortar? Most online inventory comes from a centralized system- either a retailer has a warehouse (or multiple) or they pull directly from stock in another store location. Either way, you can search all the items a company produces, and regardless of it's physical location it shows up at your door in days (or less). From a business standpoint I understand why not every location can carry every item. It would be impossible. Being a former New Yorker, rents for retailers are so incredibly high and the footprint of the store would not be able to accommodate all the products a company may have to offer. So I see both sides of it. This the whole idea of merchandising. It is why you find merchandise in NY that is different than what you find with the same brand in say Beverly Hills. Different location, different client, different merchandise. You have to have the footprint of a store like HM to be able to offer customers the vast variety. Even discount retailers like Target merchandise according to that location, the demographics in the area etc etc. I understand it from a logistical and business profitability perspective, but as a consumer it's also really disappointing. Even with all that New Yorkers have at their disposal, they still do more online shopping than any other part of the country. It's not just convenience, it's being able to get what you want without limitations.

I watch these shows and documentaries and they want to demonize Amazon for putting companies out of business. There is some truth to the Amazon effect, but I can tell you things were going downhill long before Amazon became what it is today. Back when they only sold books and nothing else. It's been a slow progression that I don't think pundits on news programs seem to understand. Even now, if I find someone at a store that is helpful or knowledgeable I am nearly shocked. Also, I hate shopping and order nearly everything online. I often even have groceries delivered. It's about convenience, but it's also about not having to deal with awful sales people and crowds.
With all that said, there are retailers that are still thriving in this new world. Those that have learned to adapt or think outside the box seem to be doing very well. Being able to integrate an online presence with a physical location seems to be the key to success. There have been many online retailers that have had success branching out into brick and mortar stores. Even Amazon is doing it now. It proves that when done smartly, people still want to feel a tangible product inside a physical location. Try before you buy. People still love the tactile shopping experience. There is much to be said for that convenience of driving 10 mins away and getting what you need vs. waiting for a week to get something delivered by UPS. Companies that have gotten on-board, like Target for example, that allow you to order online and pick up in store within 2 hours. Now they will even do your grocery shopping for you. They are a good example of a mass retailer that has integrated online shopping, their app and foot traffic in store.
But with any industry nowadays, the motto really is adapt and change or become obsolete. This is what happened to Sears. It was a long painful death. They didn't adapt. They continued with outdated, horribly merchandised stores. Non-existent customer service. Staff that was underpaid and nowhere to be found. Old stores that were messy and often dirty. The few times I'd walk through one I was amazed at just how awful they truly were. Layout made no sense, Product assortment was all off. The shopping experience was below that of Target. And Target is better quality. It left me feeling like the store was already going out of business long before the doors actually closed for the final time.
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Old Yesterday, 12:04 PM
 
Location: Buckeye, AZ
25,494 posts, read 14,585,701 times
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I mostly only check out Macy's for smelling fragrances. They sold Dior Sauvage for about $80 for 50ml if I remember correctly. I got it sprayed on me and I liked it. I got the Very Cool Spray version which I think was around $80/85 in Macy's for $60 online. Macy's is very over-priced for clothing too. I rather wait for Ross, Burlington, TJ-Maxx to get those items than buy at Macy's. Until the last oh two years, Sears was good. I loved Sears for clothes and fragrances weren't that bad especially for Christmas deals. However, I must say that recently Sears took a huge drop in the last 18 months.
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Old Yesterday, 02:53 PM
 
3,083 posts, read 1,640,089 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by City Guy997S View Post
bad math for both stores AND Walmart smokes both of them with their inventory management
Walmartís fabled inventory management is exactly that - a fable. Iíve been in many Walmart locations throughout the US and every one of them has had areas of the store with gaping holes on its shelves in many departments where there should be inventory. The story about Walmartís success being due to their amazing satellite guided ordering and logistics system is just that - a story.

Back in its heyday, Kmart was very well stocked, and rarely ran out of items leaving empty shelves. Then Walmart came around with predatory pricing and a seemingly limitless pocketbook to drive its competitors from the market, and one by one they folded up. THAT is how Walmart smokes itís competition.
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Old Yesterday, 03:20 PM
 
6,107 posts, read 6,573,175 times
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Quote:
I like the bricks to clicks trend - when online first brands open up a shop so you can see and try stuff on, but they donít keep inventory so you order in store and buy online.

It takes away some of the fear of online shopping.
Interesting....and for clothing and shoes...being hard to fit -- the "bricks to clicks" model is one I could tolerate.
As long as I can try something on (in the store) to make sure it fits...I'd have no problem ordering it and having them send it to me.
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