Department Stores Searching for Ways to Stay Relevant

department store trying to stay relevant
 

After a disappointing February that brick and mortar retailers were counting on to boost sales, many are down, but they say they’re not out.

For example, Macy’s recently posted another disastrous drop in same store sales, at 5.2 percent to the negative versus a projected three percent decrease. This makes the ninth straight quarter of decreases in same-store sales.

Clearly, something has to give.

Streamlining the Modern Department Store

Obviously, brick and mortar department stores are struggling.

This is due in large part to competition from Internet retailers who can offer increasingly fast and cheap shipping, giving shoppers a way to do more with less free time. To survive, department stores are going to have to come up with a new plan and a way to make each surviving inch of sales space more valuable.

Macy’s, for their part, is trying to streamline their processes by reducing their workforce by 10,000 people and closing dozens of stores this year. It has also been testing different programs to lift sales, such as removing less popular shoe styles and replacing them with more like the ones that show strong sales records. In addition, sales staff are being armed with technology that will make it easier to help customers find exactly what they want.

Something is Working 

These efforts, so far, have resulted in a double-digit increase in shoe sales, signaling that something Macy’s is doing is working.

As these methodologies are spread across the store’s departments, the hemorrhaging may stop over at Macy’s. Sears Holdings, parent corporation of K-Mart and Sears, has also said it is experimenting with ways of transforming its retail stores, and “fighting like hell” to change to better meet modern challenges, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Nordstrom is one of the few department stores not completely drowning in the current retail climate. Although same-store sales fell 2.8 percent during the same period as Macy’s, total sales rose 2.7 percent. This is largely due to the 2.3 percent increase in same-store sales at Nordstrom Rack, its off-price chain. It just goes to show that even as foot traffic dwindles, these ages old retailers are hanging on, trying to figure out how to adapt their in-person shopping experience to embrace the modern shopper.

 

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