Merchandising in Department Store Chains

by Louis Bucklin



With virtually every new regional shopping plaza built throughout the nation, the long dormant, orthodox department store industry experiences a renewed surge of growth and relief from the interminable ills of downtown metropolis. Branch store contributions of the larger firms of this group, which should not be confused with junior department stores, are now approaching 50 per cent of total sales. Prospects for a still larger share are evidenced regularly. Paradoxically, with each branch that is built a new threat appears-that of declining merchandise efficiently. Managerial procedures, evolved in the era of the single, dominant, downtown store, have been found increasingly poorly suited to the developing multiple-establishment system. The fact that existing department store organization does not adequately support traditional marketing strategies indicates the need for a new system. Positions of authority in the new structure must be located close to those activities crucial to the strategy, and the organization must flexibly structured to cope with the changes required by rapidly changing environmental conditions.

California Management Review

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