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National Department Store Day – October 16, 2023

National Department Store Day, celebrated every year on October 16, honors the significance and impact of department stores in the country. Department stores are commercial retail establishments that sell to customers directly. Unlike normal retail outlets, department stores classify and display a broad array of products as per department. For example, a department store will have separate sections or departments dedicated to fashion, furniture, appliances, foodstuffs, and so on. These stores fuel and support the American economy.

History of National Department Store Day

Shopping is an integral part of the modern lifestyle. Due to competition and globalization, the prices came down and people were able to afford more products. A consumer-friendly market setup, coupled with an increase in demand and supply, gave rise to the first department stores. Trade has always been a driving force in human history. It was through trade that ancient civilizations could connect and exchange ideas, and it was for trade alone that we could brave the unknown raging seas. Department stores are one of the largest centers of trade.

Trade can be defined as the process of exchange of goods or services for other goods, services, or money. Initially, under the barter system, goods were exchanged for other goods. Around 5,000 years ago, the concept of money emerged in Mesopotamia, and trade was never the same. Trade flourished between the Mesopotamian and Indus Valley civilizations. Luxury goods like spices, textiles, precious metals, etc., were among the first traded ones. This trade evolved and shaped the modern world that we know today.

Consumerism created competition between the sellers, causing further advancements in the methods of trading. Primitive shops and trade centers can be traced as far as 7500 B.C. but the early forms of department stores only started to appear during the 19th century in France. By 1818, Brooks Brothers established the first apparel retail business in America; their business is active even today. Stores are increasingly going online as a result of the invention of high-speed internet, and the number of physical department stores is rapidly declining. On National Department Store Day, we commemorate department stores and their role in the development of social culture over the past two centuries.

National Department Store Day timeline

7500 B.C.
Birth of Shops and Trade Centers

Catal Huyuk, in modern-day Turkey, emerges as a major trade city with shops and trade centers

800 B.C.
The First Retail Stores

The first retail stores open in ancient Greece.

1818
America’s Earliest Retail Store

The first Brooks Brothers retail store opens on Cherry Street in Manhattan.

1825
The First Department Store in America

Arnold Constable, starting as a small shop in New York, becomes the first department store in the U.S.

National Department Store Day FAQs

What is a department store used for?

A department store is a retail establishment that sells a wide variety of goods. These usually include groceries, textiles, appliances, small wares, furniture, accessories, and food items.

Which is an example of a good department store?

A good example would be Macy’s. It sells fashion, clothing, and accessories.

What is the difference between a mall and a department store?

A department store concentrates more on the sales of local and items of personal use and is a single retail business establishment. A mall can be a complex of shops selling a variety of merchandise. One can buy various things at a mall, which is a mega-shopping destination.

National Department Store Day Activities

  1. Prepare a shopping list

    Check your stocks and inventory, and list all that you need to restock. Make a shopping list, and visit the nearest department store.

  2. Visit the stores

    Visit the stores regularly, even if you don’t need to buy anything. You may find an attractive offer or bump into an old acquaintance.

  3. Bring your friends to the store

    Once a week, bring all your friends to the nearest department stores. Most stores provide a dining area for customers who shop for a long time. You can spend time with your friends, have food, and enjoy shopping.

5 Facts About Department Stores That You Should Know

  1. The oldest retail industry in the U.S.

    Brooks Brothers is the oldest and most successful retailer in the United States.

  2. The world’s first department store

    Le Bon Marché, founded in 1852 in Paris, is the first department store in the world.

  3. The world’s biggest department store

    The Shinsegae Centumcity Department Store, South Korea, is the world's biggest department store, covering two buildings and 5,487,595 square feet.

  4. The richest department store in America

    Macy's is America’s richest department store chain by revenue.

  5. Total department stores in the U.S.

    There are approximately 6,297 department stores in the U.S.

Why We Love National Department Store Day

  1. One place to get them all

    A department store is a one-stop shopping destination. If you go to a department store, you won’t need to visit other stores.

  2. A culture is made

    When department stores thrive, they attract people from adjoining areas. This way, new social connections, and relations are formed.

  3. It supports the local population

    Department stores usually hire people from nearby areas, so you are likely to know those employed. We love local!

National Department Store Day dates

YearDateDay
2023October 16Monday
2024October 16Wednesday
2025October 16Thursday
2026October 16Friday
2027October 16Saturday

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