General Merchandise

The term ‘retail apocalypse’ gained widespread use amid the massive number of closures of brick-and-mortar retail stores due to the rapid growth of e-commerce and changing consumer patterns. In North America and Europe, this phenomenon has crippled traditional shopping formats such as malls, high street retail, and department stores. In the past years, there has been a decline in the number of department stores as well as malls across these regions. Now more than ever, retailers are seeing the need to focus on turning their stores into experiential spaces, as a way of getting customers to walk through their doors once again.
Meanwhile, the outlook of convenience stores is slightly different. In North America, this sector has proven to be one of the most recession-proof retail channels. As communities were encouraged to shop locally during coronavirus, consumers in North America and the UK relied on convenience stores more than ever.

Retail Vacancy rate in the U.S.
Number of convenience stores in Great Britain
European city with the most expensive shopping center retail space

Market size

Brick-and-mortar retail is still alive
In-store and e-commerce retail sales worldwide from 2020 to 2024 (in trillion U.S. dollars)
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In-store retail will continue to represent the largest share of retail sales worldwide, and both online and in-store sales are forecast to grow. U.S convenience stores have seen constant sales growth. In Germany, one of the leaders in the discount segment, discount stores account for just over 40 percent of total food retail. However, department store sales growth was forecast to fall in the UK, while in the U.S. sales have shown a continuous downward trend since the beginning of the 2000s.

U.S. convenience store sales
Germany food revenue share of discounters
U.S. department store sales

Market segments

A shift in mall and department store strategies
Sales of selected department stores in the United States in 2020 (in billion U.S. dollars)
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Fueled by consumer demand for food and non-retail services like health care, shopping centers are shifting their strategy towards offering a more varied mix of retailers and moving away from anchoring to major department stores . Department stores like J.C. Penney, along with other U.S. mall-based retailers, closed thousands of stores in the U.S., as the downward trend in the industry’s sales continued. However, department stores are adopting innovative approaches to attract consumers.

Shopping centers in the United States
Shopping centers in the United Kingdom
Shopping centers in Latin America

Industry trends

Unification of brick-and-mortar, technology, and e-commerce
Retail e-commerce sales worldwide from 2014 to 2025 (in billion U.S. dollars)
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Convenience stores, department stores, and malls are increasing their efforts to enter digital channels to provide a fully integrated experience. In 2021, top department stores and discounters, like Walmart and Target, ranked amongst the leading brands with the highest e-commerce sales and had some of the most popular mobile shopping apps in the U.S. Meanwhile, convenience stores worldwide are establishing delivery services using third-party operators to expand their customer reach.

Top U.S. retailers by online sales
Monthly active users of the top shopping apps in the U.S.
Convenience stores delivery U.S.

Industry leaders

7-Eleven, the king of convenience
Number of 7-Eleven stores worldwide as of January 2020, by country
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7-Eleven is present in almost every region of the world positioning itself as the leading convenience brand in terms of store numbers. Other industry leaders include Oxxo, the biggest convenience store in Latin America, and the Canadian brand Circle K. In terms of warehouse clubs, the United States is home to the world’s top players. Costco, for example, operates over 800 stores worldwide. In January 2021 alone, warehouse clubs generated over 45 million U.S. dollars in the U.S.

Couche-Tard stores worldwide
Costco Warehouse Corporation
U.S. warehouse club retail sales

Industry definition

Statista offers a wide range of statistics on general merchandise including convenience stores and gas stations, shopping centers, department stores, discount and dollar stores, supercenters and hypermarkets, and warehouse clubs. In terms of convenience stores, statistics on frequency of visits, sales, and the number of stores are provided. Data on shopping centers include the largest and busiest malls, vacancy rates, as well as information on shopping center operators. Regarding department stores, discounter and dollar stores, and supercenter and hypermarkets, statistics about industry leaders and their financial performance are included. Finally, the warehouse club section comprises information on the main players and their key facts.


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