The Dying Discount Department Store

The latest figures show a retail species struggling in a changing environment.

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As E-commerce and big-box stores continue to grow, some department stores have to fight to keep up.

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In the future, says Hand, the stores that will survive—of any type, whether department or boutique—will have to be competitive not only on pricing but also agility.

"They will be differentiated by a combination of their ability to impress the customer in store with fresh assortments. 'Every week we're going to show you something new.'"

Hand describes the task for stores facing the E-commerce threat in a way that Darwin would appreciate: adapt or die.

"It's a dog-eat-dog world, and only the strong are going to survive," she says. "The band of retailers successful in any given product category will diminish."

Danielle Kurtzleben is a business and economics reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter at @titonka or via E-mail at dkurtzleben@usnews.com.


Corrected on : Updated 7/25/12: A spokesperson for TJX Companies has provided sales and financial information about the company. The story has been updated to reflect the new information.