As Sales Sag, Department Stores Look To Evolve

by MR Magazine Staff

Less-than-stellar holiday sales – despite extra-long hours and extra-steep discounts – might be a wake-up call to department stores that they need a new approach. “What shoppers are looking for from department stores today is an experience, services and brands they can’t get other places. There’s an opportunity, but they’re not totally taking advantage of it yet,” said Wendy Liebmann, CEO of WSL Strategic Retail, a retail consultancy in New York. The holiday season at Sears was especially rough. Greg Melich, an Evercore ISI analyst covering Sears, warned in a report that the company is no longer “viable as a retailer in its current form.” The department store chain, based in suburban Chicago, announced this month it planned to accelerate store closings and said it expected to write down the value of its iconic brand name by up to $200 million. Read more at The State.