ANALYSIS-Department stores fight back from online challenge

miércoles 15 de octubre de 2014 09:32 GYT

* Global sector set to grow 22 pct to $450 bln by 2019

* Investment pays off in store revamps and e-commerce

* Tourists are important, but fickle customers

* Asian, Middle East investors pounce on Western chains

By Emma Thomasson

PARIS, Oct 15 (Reuters) - Department stores are starting to enjoy a renaissance after finding ways to attract a new generation of consumers in an age of global fashion chains and online shopping.

Retail consultancy Verdict predicts the global sector should return to growth in 2014 and expand by 22 percent to about $450 billion by 2019. The recovery will be driven by expansion in emerging markets, with China set to account for 30 percent of total spend five years from now.

Pioneered in France, Britain and the United States from around the 1840s by household names like Printemps, Harrods and Macy's, department stores lost their edge from the late 1970s with the rise of stores for fashion, electronics and home wares like Inditex's Zara and Sweden's IKEA.

The advent of e-commerce was the final straw for many stores which had become drab halls catering to an ageing clientele, with the likes of Germany's Karstadt and U.S. mid-market chain J.C. Penney the latest to flounder.   Continuación...