The essential characteristics of departmental stores are:
1. Large size:
A departmental store is a large scale retail organisation.
2. Central location:
A departmental store is locality in a main market. All the departments are organised under one roof in a large building.
3. Wide range of goods:
It provides a large variety of merchandise from ‘pin to plane’ at one place.
A departmental store is divided into several departments, each specializing in one line of goods.
5. Attractive appearance:
A departmental store is housed in an impressive building which is fully furnished and well decorated.
6. Unified management:
All departments function independently. But they are under a centralised management and control. Purchases are centralised to obtain the advantages of large scale and expert buying.
7. Amenities and services:
A departmental store offers restaurant, post, office, bank and other facilities to customers to make shopping comfortable.
8. Extensive advertising:
In order to attract customers in large numbers, a departmental store makes extensive use of advertising.
9. Huge investment:
A departmental store requires huge investment of money.
Organisation: A huge amount of capital is required to establish a departmental store.
Therefore, it is generally organised in the form of a joint stock company. The overall management and control lies in the hands of Board of Directors and the Chief Executive.
The store is divided into several sections e.g., merchandise, technical staff, accounts, secretarial, building section, etc. Each section or division consists of a number of related departments.
Every section manager controls and coordinates the activities of departments in his section and reports to the chief executive.
The head of every department is accountable to the concerned section manager for the efficient working of a department. Under a departmental head, there are several shop assistants and sales persons.