American department stores have been pillars of retail for well over a century. Saks, Bloomingdales
, and Lord & Taylor were founded back in the 1800s, while their competitors such as Barneys are relative upstarts, launching during the Roaring 20s. For many years, their hold on consumers was absolute. But in an age when customers can just as easily shop from their sofas, the American department store is facing flagging sales.
Blame it on the weather, the strength of the dollar (making tourists less likely to splurge while in the U.S.), the proliferation of discounts even on designer goods, the fact is that many luxury shoppers –millennials in particular– aren’t as willing to venture forth into department stores.
Last year, Macy’s announced it would close up to 40 stores, due to poor sales. Even Nordstrom’s, the upscale retailer that normally outperforms its peers, found itself in a bit of a retail slump late last year.
And so traditional luxury department stores are busy trying to reinvent themselves for the digital age, notes Business of Fashion. From Neiman Marcus to Nordstrom, high-end chains are using a variety of strategies to inject a little excitement and entice new customers to step inside their brick and mortar locations and stay to shop. Here are some of the ways they are trying to change the game.