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Brick and Mortar Clothing Stores by Apparel Search - Terms of Interest to the Fashion Industry

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Fashion retailing in the modern world consists of two primary classifications of clothing stores.  Today's retail environment consists of online clothing retailers and brick and mortar clothing stores.  In this area of the Apparel Search fashion terms section, we will discuss the brick and mortar clothing stores.

According to Wikipedia, “brick-and-mortar" (B&M) refers to a company that possesses a building or store for operations. The name is a metonym derived from the traditional building materials associated with physical buildings—bricks and mortar–in contrast with online stores, which have no physical presence.

In the jargon of ecommerce, brick-and-mortar businesses are companies that have a physical presence—a physical store—and offer face-to-face consumer experiences. This term is usually used to contrast with a transitory business or an Internet-only presence, such as an online shop. An example would be the movie-rental shop Blockbuster Video, which has physical stores and is in competition with the newer online rental services offered by Netflix. In this sense, the term is also a retronym in that all stores had a physical presence before the advent of the Internet, making such a term unnecessary. A comparable term in the United Kingdom is "High Street" shops, although the phrase "brick(s)-and-mortar business" is also used.

Other definitions include Investopedia’s reference that a brick-and-mortar business is a traditional "street-side" business that deals with its customers face-to-face in an office or a store that the business owns or rents. Web-based businesses usually have lower costs and greater flexibility than brick-and-mortar operations. The local grocery store and corner bank are examples of brick-and-mortar companies. About.com, defines brick-and-mortar businesses as retail shops that are located in a building as opposed to an online shopping destination, door-to-door sales, kiosk, or other similar site not housed within a structure. According to Macmillan Dictionary, a brick-and-mortar business is a traditional business that does not operate on the Internet. It also offers the term “click-and-mortar," which is used to describe a business that operates in traditional ways and by using the Internet

Learn more about clothing stores in our retail section.

Written by Regina Cooper for Apparel Search November, 20010

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