Macy's vs. Target: Where are shoppers getting their goods?

With companies like Sears losing sales and closing stores, retail reporter Brigid Sweeney explains why some consumers are skipping department stores and getting their goods from other retailers.

April 10, 2012

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Picture this. It's a Monday night, you've had a long day at work but you need to pick up a few things before you head home. Maybe you need a prescription, some laundry detergent and a new dress. Do you head to three different spots to get each item or try and get everything at one place?

In our busy, harried times, it's probably more often the latter. In the days of multi-purpose retailers-stores aiming to be everything to everyone, we may be visiting our local department stores less frequently. Illinois-based Sears and Texas-based JC Penney have both struggled to retain customers in recent years. JC Penney last week announced 900 lay-offs at the company, and Sears is expected to close stores this summer as sales slide at the company. So with department stores like these losing sales, where are consumers getting their goods instead? Is the department store still a viable option for the busy consumer looking to save during a weathered economy?

Crain's Chicago Business reporter Brigid Sweeney joins Eight Forty-Eight to discuss where consumers are shopping these days, and how some department stores are still able to compete.

Historian and architect Bruce Kopytek has always been fascinated with the design elements and structural details of department stores. But as a history lover, he wanted to learned more about the people who visit these stores, and the traditions attach to the company's name. Born and berd in Detroit, Kopytek is author of Jacobson's: I Miss It So!: The Story of a Michigan Fashion Institution and writes the blog The Department Store Museum. He pours over old newspaper clippings, and collects memories from readers to share the history of department stories on his blog. He shares some of those stories Tuesday on Eight Forty-Eight.