Department stores are those large establishments where objects of various categories are available for retail sale in one place.
It is common to see this store with several floors, allocating each to a specific category. In them, we can find clothes for women, men, and children, footwear, furniture, decoration for the home, toys, etc. Identifying each one as a department along with the category found there.
They are usually located in strategic places in the city that have easy access and are popular. These stores should not be confused with shopping centers since these are spaces arranged for various stores. In contrast, warehouses or department stores correspond to a single company, and it is a single store housing several categories and brands.
Origin of department stores
The first record of stores by categories or departments dates back to the 19th century. And there is a dilemma as to where they really originated. Since it is stated that these emerged in the flea markets of Paris, where there was access to a diversity of second-hand and new products.
In 1851, the Le Bon Marché store was opened in Paris, which is still in use today. People could circulate freely, the products had a marked price, and there was a merchandise return system without penalty.
However, some affirm that department stores had their birth in Canada, with the Hudson’s Bay Company being the pioneer in this category and its activities began in 1670. Still, it is not certain when it was considered a department store.
This store spread, and the United States was not far behind. So in 1825, the first department store called Arnold Constable opened in New York until 1857, when it was renamed Marble House.
In the case of Mexico, the first department store was created in 1857 called Fábricas de Francia, later called Puerto Liverpool to become just Liverpool today. Then, in 1885, El Palacio de Hierro was found before its doors, characterized by selling luxury brand merchandise. Then, in 1905, another department store called Sanborns was founded.
In Spain, we find El Corte Inglés, structured by departments in 1945. And is currently one of the most recognized stores in the country and abroad.
Characteristics of department stores
In most department stores, customer service is offered, having areas with only one person to serve it. As well as purchase advisors for some categories, especially adult clothing.
Another detail to keep in mind is that department stores should not be confused with chain stores. Since the former offers a variety of products in one place. While chain stores deal with a store selling a specific product, which can have several branches.
But, if it is true, we can also find chain stores, as is the case of the famous Macy’s store in New York, which is part of a chain.
Advantages of department stores
- Its location is always strategic, so it is easily accessible to the public.
- Its spaces are wide, so they can comfortably accommodate many people.
- It is possible to find a wide variety of categories, so it is possible to buy or acquire everything in one place.
- They offer amenities such as restaurants or cafes, bathrooms, gift wrapping service, and home deliveries.
- By having everything at hand in one place, you do not have to go through several stores in search of what you need.
Department stores and shopping malls
Sometimes people are often confused about one and the other, but the truth is that it is not the same.
Shopping centers are large spaces made up of premises intended for a specific brand to place and market its products there. They are separate and do not mix.
To buy in a mall, you have to go from store to store, so to speak. Despite everything being concentrated in the same space.
While sections or floors can separate department stores. So, you can go from one category to another without leaving the store. You would only have to go down or upstairs or move from one space to another.
Most famous department stores
Macy’s, New York
Located in Herald Square in New York City, the eight-story building, which occupies an entire block, houses the largest department store, Macy’s. It has become a big apple icon with over 100 years of existence and history.
But if fame is enhanced not only by its merchandise. But also by the annual Thanksgiving Day parade they organize and their fireworks show every July 4 and Christmas.
At Macy’s, you can find various products, from clothing and footwear to household appliances, characterized by their competitive prices compared to other stores and warehouses.
It is the most famous luxury brand department store in the UK and possibly the entire world.
Under the motto Omnia Omnibus Ubique, which means “everything for everyone, everywhere,” they house many shopping options, a large food hall, and 27 restaurants.
Its large size demands a lot of time to visit the site, but it will undoubtedly be worth it for the shopping experience in this luxurious and exquisite place.
Bloomingdale, New York
Another iconic store located in the Big Apple is Bloomingdale’s. With over 150 years under its belt, it has been the preferred location for recording movies and series filmed in New York City, making it iconic.
Its characteristic bags, called “Big Brown Bags,” are not recognized throughout the world. In addition to having sales by department, they have joined the digital world through its application and the online shopping modality, without losing its essence and leaving to receive many clients in person.
Paris Gallery, Dubai
Dubai is known for its luxurious and extravagant lifestyle.
Its flagship store, Paris Gallery, has nothing to offer but luxury products you will not find in other stores and common places.
Vittorio Emanuele Gallery, Milan
The Vittorio Emanuele Gallery, located in Milan, does not adapt so much to the concept of department stores. But is more attached to what we know as shopping malls. However, everything is in the same space.
It is considered the first shopping center in the world. It was opened in 1877 and consists of an octagonal area where we find covered streets and through which we can find a variety of high-end designer stores.
The place is covered by an iron and glass dome, with restaurants. As well as being a tourist attraction because it connects two of the most famous squares in the city: Piazza Duomo and Piazza di Marino, so if you visit the place you should not stop by the rooftop walkway to enjoy the amazing view of the city.
Department stores undoubtedly continue to represent a great advantage. Because they are places where we can find everything without going out and entering several stores, which is often exhausting. In addition, shopping is a relaxing activity where we can spend hours.