Reinventing Normal: Do Department Stores Have a Future?

Writer, speaker, retail futurist, and founder of consulting agency 22nd&5th  Howard Saunders joins Reinventing Normal host Mark Landini to discuss the future of retail stores. Appreciating the long, hallowed history of shopping in the West and how it’s impacted the daily life of a vast cross-section of demographics, they dive into current industry problems and how to glean some way forward.

“The department store is dead… and we’re seeing the fallout of that,“ Saunders explained. “But you have to look at it deeper than that… It brings you to question what it is – when you talk about department stores – what it is you mean.”

Saunders and Landini explore the ways department stores have raised the bar to offer everyday consumers services previously available only to the financial elite.

They delve into the influence of trade pioneers Selfridges & Co., how businesses who hold their model excel, and why the monotony of shopping is toxic to the retail industry.

They also get real about the issues crushing in-life purchasing experiences due to companies cramping into a mold that is no longer profitable, groundbreaking, or stimulating to shoppers.

“They committed suicide by being so mediocre,” Saunders lamented with a laugh.

With a little nostalgia for the Golden Era of merchandising, they show how the digital age has revolutionized shopping for the masses – and how retail can overcome these issues while offering a better purchasing experience.

Emphasizing the past, they pave the way to the future.

Join the conversation on this episode of Reinventing Normal with Mark Landini.

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