Discount Department Stores Industry Profile

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Excerpt from Discount Department Stores Industry Profile

Companies in this industry operate physical retail establishments that sell a wide variety of merchandise, including apparel, household furnishings, and personal care products. Major companies include Kmart, Target, and Walmart (all based in the US), as well as Auchan Retail and Carrefour (both based in France), Daiso Japan (Japan), Lojas Americanas (Brazil), and METRO AG (Germany).

Discount department store sales are strongest in developed parts of the world, including the US, Europe, China, and Japan, according to Deloitte. Online retail sales have surged in Europe, particularly the UK, Germany, and France, as well as in China, Thailand, and Latin America.

The US discount department store industry includes about 4,300 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $70 billion.

Unlike most traditional department stores, discount department stores typically have a central checkout at the front of the store. Discount department stores generally do not sell fresh, perishable foods, unlike supercenters and warehouse clubs. Some discount retailers, such as Target and Walmart, also operate supercenters or warehouse clubs, which are covered in a separate industry profile.


Population growth and consumer spending drive demand. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient supply chain management, effective merchandising, and competitive pricing. Large companies enjoy advantages in purchasing, distribution, and marketing. The US industry is highly concentrated: the 50 largest companies account for 100% of industry revenue.

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