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A community-based strategy for department stores

Susan Krug Friedman (Department of Human and Organizational Development, Peabody College of Education and Human Development, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee, USA)

American Journal of Business

ISSN: 1935-5181

Article publication date: 2 October 2019

Issue publication date: 5 November 2019




Over the years, department stores have dealt with unique challenges, including massive changes in city and then suburban landscapes and shopping patterns, shifts in consumer preferences, and, more recently, electronic commerce. The purpose of this paper is to discuss additional community-oriented marketing approaches for department stores.


The approach looks at the role of traditional department stores in communities and their economic impact and uses ideas from a variety of community-based mobile services, including medical, food and library outreach.


The findings are that the importance of physical retailers such as department stores to a community deserves further consideration by civic and business leaders and that a variety of services and products have been successfully marketed in communities through additional approaches such as mobile units.

Social implications

The approaches presented could enhance community development.


While department stores have held distinctive places in many cities, these enterprises lack the type of regional fan base that advocates actively for other kinds of industries. A community-oriented marketing approach for department stores is discussed, with ideas for future research that could build on these stores’ special brand attributes and on their contributions to the viability of an area.



The author gratefully acknowledges the editors and reviewers for their insights and comments.


Friedman, S.K. (2019), "A community-based strategy for department stores", American Journal of Business, Vol. 34 No. 3/4, pp. 118-133.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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