Department Stores Were The Original Retail Startups. Now They’re Headed For The Grave

After a century and a half, the American department store appears to be headed toward the grave. These glittering emporia that once drew crowds with fashion shows, concerts, and lavish holiday windows are going out with whimper, not a bang—an apparent victim of the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. Department stores had been in declining health for a decade, as they became less relevant in the landscape of American life. There was a time when consumers had to visit these stores to find the latest clothes, shoes, accessories, and home goods from must-know brands, but with the internet, consumers could buy these products from the comfort of their sofas. In a sign of how troubled the industry was, both Barneys and Henri Bendel’s went out of business in 2019. That was before the coronavirus arrived in the United States. Read more at Fast Company.

2 Replies to “Department Stores Were The Original Retail Startups. Now They’re Headed For The Grave”

  1. It’s hard to have empathy for the department stores/discounters. They, decades ago , contributed to the demise of the independent retailer. No question the big stores and vendors had zero concern for the foundation of our industry, the smaller store. As discussed in this article the probl ems of the Barneys, Macy’s, and retail in general were established many years ago. Virus or not this was inevitable and mirrors society, as to greed and selfishness in our world.

  2. Fast Company article leaves out some of the most important failings of these stores. They raised their margins, cheated on the quality of their offerings ,eliminated all of their talented merchants, buyers and executives and replaced them with cheaper less experienced personnel. They also hired mediocre sales people because they agreed to be poorly paid. All the better for the corporate squeeze.
    On top of this they tried to trick the consumer with artificial discounts and “everyday sales”…..none of which worked. The only winners here were the bean counters, the investors and the awful top executives who got extraordinary payouts especially when being fired for failing to reach promised artificial earnings or for total incompetence. All of this due to greed and corporate indulgence. Now the rest of the “fashion industry” ( if anyone is still here) is left to pick up the pieces and try to reimagine and rebuild a once proud business, industry and cornerstone of creative American prowess that supported millions of Americans for many decades. R.I.P. Golden Goose, R.I. P.

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