The Web Can't Offer This, But Department Stores Can
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) The Lone Star state leads the nation in holiday department store spending, according to a new survey, and Houston tops the list of five Texas cities with nearly $5.5 billion in annual revenues followed by San Antonio's $3.4 billion in revenues.
"Because a significant amount of every retailer's revenue comes after Thanksgiving, it is very likely that these rankings would correlate with being the best locations for department store revenue during the holidays," said Anatalio Ubalde, CEO of SizeUp.
SizeUp.com research disclosed that Dallas with $2.4 billion in annual revenues and El Paso's $1.85 billion also ranked among the top ten with New York's $5.25 billion ranking second and Los Angeles in third place with $3.7 billion. Chicago followed in fifth place with $3.3 billion after San Antonio. Other cities that made the list were Phoenix with $2.15 billion, Jacksonville with $2 billion and San Diego with $1.9 billion in annual revenues. Austin scored eleventh with $1.85 billion.
"Going to a store is a special type of experience where you can have a tactile relationship with the things you are considering buying," said Ubalde. "There is still value in that for many people who want to make sure the clothes fit, the ring sparkles just right or the perfume has the right smell."
Although department stores were formerly the exclusive domain of Sears and J.C. Penney, these days they include Target, Walmart and Kohl's.
"The term department store goes way back to when Sears and J.C. Penney opened stores that sold many different types of products in different departments," said Jeff Feinberg, managing director with Alvarez & Marsal Private Equity Services in New York. "While some continued to carry hard-goods, some then evolved to soft-goods-only stores that sold many different types of clothing also in different departments. From these evolved specialty stores like Barney's, mom and pop stores then big-box like Target and now discounters, such as Walmart."
While online sales reached $1.93 billion on black Friday this year, department stores and online shopping are not mutually exclusive.
"People research online and then go to the store to buy," Ubalde said. "People also try out the products in department stores then go online to get the same item cheaper. Many department stores offer buy online and pick up at your local store services but to combat this, online vendors like Amazon.com are developing same-day delivery."
Despite the increase in online shopping, families continue to visit department stores for the holiday music and decorations.
"In many suburban communities, the mall is the default town center and a place to have experiences with others," Ubalde said. "Holiday shopping is a shared community experience. It's more than just the shopping. It's the shopping experience and department stores are well aware that they have to out-service online vendors during the holidays with experiences that aren't possible over the Internet, such as a visit with Santa Claus."