The department store claims to effect economies in marketing: (1) by eliminating jobbers, brokers, and even importers, and (2) by saving, through combination and organization, much of the expenses of retailing incurred by small stores. Whether or not it succeeds in either of these two respects is a disputed question, since its gains from buying direct and in large quantities and from its economies in organization are offset, at least to some degree, by its heavy advertising and overhead expenses. It is probable that the advantage which these stores offer to the consumer is one of selection rather than one of price. Obviously, in a great many lines a modern department store has a wider variety than any of its smaller competitors. There is not, however, such a wide difference as many people suspect, especially between the department stores, on the one hand, and well-managed specialty stores, on the other.
Courtesy of John Wanamaker, Philadelphia
Interior View of a Large Department Store.