Market Outlook 16 minutes Premium

Sector Overview: US Department Stores — Off-Price Formats and Marketplaces are Winning (and Millennials are Shopping Department Stores)

Executive Summary

Each of our Sector Overview reports provides an essential briefing on a sector or market. In this report, we review the U.S. department-store sector.

  • In 2018, sales made through U.S. department stores totaled $76.2 billion according to Euromonitor International. In-store sector sales are forecast to decrease at a compound annual growth rate of 5.8% to 2023, reaching $56.6 billion.
  • Department stores are expanding off-price businesses with the hope of attracting customers to full-price merchandise, too. Nordstrom reported that 6.5 million new customers came to Nordstrom through its off-price business in 2018 and one-third of those customers become full-price customers.
  • Department stores are pairing up with unique partners including Aldi and Amazon to drive traffic.
  • Department stores are popular among millennials aged 25–34: According to Prosper Insights & Analytics, 47.8% of millennials shopped at a department store over Thanksgiving weekend, 2018 — a higher proportion than was recorded for any other age group.
  • We predict department stores will adopt smaller formats, continue to rightsize and collaborate with unique partners. 

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