GDA Staff -- Gifts & Dec, September 23, 2002
Names and titles don't always mean what they used to, especially in the rapidly evolving retail scene. Discounters aren't really discounters anymore — they feature all-the-time-low-pricing on merchandise that is often exclusively theirs and can't be found anywhere else — and with names like Springmaid at Wal-Mart, Martha Stewart at Kmart and Michael Graves at Target, they're taking on some of the attributes of department stores. These days it's the off-pricers, like Stein Mart and TJX, that really discount the goods usually seen in full-price department stores — Ralph Lauren is a case in point.
With that in mind, this year's edition of the Retail Report Card makes a sweeping change in nomenclature and organizes retail formats in a new hierarchy based on pricing realities. In place of the department stores category, you'll find full-price retailers; followed by mid-price retailers, including Sears, Penney and Kohl's. Next are the all-the-time-low-price stores, reflecting what the so-called "discounters" really do, followed by off-price retailers. Noting that mail-order now encompasses a whole lot more than conventional mail, and a lot of business is done on the Internet, that channel is now called direct-to-consumer.
Given their highly defined niches, specialty stores, fabric and decorating chains and warehouse clubs retain their well-known titles.
Sales per square foot
|9.||Bed Bath & Beyond||199||196|
|10.||May Dept. Stores||193||205|
|13.||Factory 2-U Stores||178||—|
|14.||Linens 'n Things||152||160|
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