Companies in this industry operate physical retail establishments that sell a wide variety of merchandise, including apparel, groceries, household furnishings, and personal care products. Major companies include Kmart, Kohl's, Target, and Wal-Mart (all based in the US), as well as Carrefour (France), Daiso Japan, Groupe Auchan (France), Lojas Americanas (Brazil), and METRO AG (Germany).
Discount department store sales are strongest in developed parts of the word, including Europe, Japan, and the US. Top emerging markets for discount department stores are China, Brazil, and other regions where middle-class populations are rising.
The US discount department store industry includes about 5,000 stores with combined annual revenue of about $115 billion. Competition from other retailers and slow growth in consumer spending challenge the industry.
Unlike most traditional department stores, discount department stores have a central checkout at the front of the store. Discount department stores may have additional checkout registers within individual departments. Unlike supercenters and warehouse clubs, discount department stores typically do not sell fresh, perishable foods. Some discount retailers, such as Target and Wal-Mart, 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 eight largest companies account for nearly 100 percent of industry revenue.