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Retail establishment that sells a wide variety of goods. These usually include ready-to-wear apparel and accessories, yard goods and household textiles, housewares, furniture, electrical appliances, and accessories. In addition to departments (supervised by managers and buyers) for the various categories of goods, there are departmental divisions to handle, for example, merchandising, advertising, service, accounting, and financial strategy. The Bon Marché in Paris, which began as a small shop in the early 19th century, is often considered the first department store. The first U.S. department store chains J.C. Penney and Sears, Roebuck and Co.date to the 1920s. See alsoHarrods.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on department store, visit Britannica.com.