Profile America: First Department Store

department-store-genericSunday, October 16 —  Today marks an anniversary that should please America’s power shoppers. On this date in 1868, the first full-line department store in the U.S. was organized in Salt Lake City. Called “Zion’s Cooperative Mercantile Institution,” it opened the next year.

The idea of the department store soon spread around the country, hailed for the convenience such retail powerhouses offered consumers and becoming points of civic pride. The era of the classic, high-rise downtown department store has been eclipsed, but modern equivalents — usually one or two stories high and located in suburban malls — are still major players in the retail scene. There are 8,100 department stores in the U.S., a powerful presence among the country’s 52,000 general merchandise establishments.

You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau online.

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