January 21, 2005

May & Federated to Merge?

More This might be more buzz than anything else... but USA Today seems to be depressed:

Whether or not this merger actually takes place, the possibility serves to highlight a nationwide concern that the department store - as American consumers have come to know and now ignore it - might be going the way of the Oldsmobile.

There are bright spots. The luxury end of the sector - particularly Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus - is going gangbusters. Some discounters, such as Target, are having a heyday. Even one of the industry's middle class - J.C. Penney - is on a roll.

But those are mostly exceptions.

The department store industry is fast becoming an eight-track player in an iPod age. Annual department store sales have declined for the past four years - to a low of $213.9 billion in 2004 from a high of $233.6 billion in 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau reports - even as retail sales overall grew each year.

Posted by Kevin on January, 21 2005 at 10:20 AM