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7 Most Incredible Department Stores in the World

by Katie Sorene

Love shopping? Love travel? You’re in the right place. Check out these phenomenal shopping destinations across the globe, grab the plastic and off you go!

Christmas shopping getting you down? Fed up of fighting hoards of crazed shoppers in your local mall?

Shopping whilst traveling, now that’s another story. It’s so much more… well.. fun!

And there are some truly phenomenal stores in the world that you need to know about!

Check out this list of the 7 Most Incredible Department Stores in the World, grab a flight and you’re there!

1. Galeries Lafayette. Paris

Galeries Lafayette Paris

jolisoleil

Established in 1893, Galeries Lafayette is a 10-story architectural delight. With its majestic glass dome and art nouveau staircases, it takes department store shopping to a whole new level!

Step into this building, look up to the ceiling and it won’t be the clothes you’ll be thinking about.

Magnifique!

2. Harrods, London

Harrods London

geoftheref

The Harrods motto: All Things for All People, Everywhere gives you a little clue about the shopping experience you’re likely to encounter here.

The store’s seasonal Christmas department and Food Hall are world renowned.

Egyptian multi-millionaire, Mohamed Al-Fayed bought the store in 1985 for £615m.

This is one diamond-studded department store!

3. The Dubai Mall, Dubai

Dubai Mall

Leandro’s World Tour

Ok, so not strictly a department store but I couldn’t leave it out.

The largest mall in retail history, the Dubai Mall is a 20 Billion Dollar project housing 1,200 shops.

You’ll also find the world’s largest Gold Souk, a mini-Galeries Lafayette, SEGA theme park, 22-screen Cineplex, a replica of London’s Regent Street, an Olympic ice rink and an aquarium.

Phew, super-sized shopping not for the faint hearted!

4. Macy’s, New York

Macys New York

Phillie Casablanca

A NYC staple, no trip to the big apple would be complete without a visit to the formidable force on 34th.

With 810 branches throughout the US, the New York flagship store is a shopaholic’s dream come true.

Macy’s isn’t just a shop, it’s an institution. In addition to fulfilling all our retail desires, Macy’s also organizes the annual Thanksgiving Parade and sponsors the capital’s 4th of July fireworks.

Here’s to the American Dream!

5. Shinsegae, Busan, South Korea

Shinsegae South Korea

SHINEZ Photo

Another one for the records books, Shinsegae is officially the largest department store in the whole world.

In addition to floor upon floor of designer brands, visitors will also find a spa, roof garden and 60-tee golf range.

Worth a trip to South Korea? I think so!

6. The Gum, Moscow

The Gum Moscow
Borya

The largest and most prestigious shopping destination in Russia, the Gum stands proudly in Red Square itself.

Built with the same glass roof and steel framework as the European train stations from the 1890’s, a trip to the Gum is also a trip back in time.

7. 10 Corso Como, Milan

10 Corso Como

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Founded by Carla Sozzani, former Editor of Italian Vogue, Corso Como is, perhaps, the most stylish department store in the world.

Housing an art gallery, bookstore, restaurant and boutique hotel, 10 Corso Como has been labeled a “Concept Store – a mini lifestyle emporium”!

Copy-cat stores have sprung up in London and Paris, you saw it here first!

Been to any of these magnificent department stores? Got more fantastic shopping suggestions? Let us know, we want to hear from you!

If you liked this you might also like: The 15 Most Magical Places in the World.

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13 comments… read them below or Add a Comment

Vera Marie Badertscher

This is a terrific collection. My feet get tired just looking at them!

Andy Hayes | Sharing Travel Experiences

Wonderful choices! And Number one deserves its place. Fantastic.

jessiev

what fun!! i also love japanese department stores- they are incredible. great list!

marta

when it come to shopping I am the first on the line. London is great for this and I never missed out on Harrod’s sales but the food hall is way better at Selfridges. Being a fanatic of shopping I have to say Macy’s is too much ever for me, is too big and confused that after a bit I just want to run out the building.

Cecil Lee

Hi Katie,
What a list! Out of the 7 shopping malls, I’ve only been to Harrods. Perhaps Mid-valley or 1-Utama shopping mall in Malaysia could squeeze into the top 10 most incredible departmental store, if you add 3 extra’s… :)

Travelogged

I bet the Dubai mall is having amazing sales now…

Katie

Great time to go!!

Lorraine

OK, this blog needs a byline, like: Tripbase, the place you visit when you need to get your travel groove on. Very cool post.

Lee

Great list. Though you know Selfridges in London won the worlds best store award in 2010. I dont think Macys is any good these days – its no longer the worlds biggest store and they have gone downmarket in goods and service. The main floor could look amazing with those art deco columns and light fittings but the whole place looks cluttered and messy.

Lee

Here’s my personal top 5: (below)

Lee

1. Bergdorf Goodman, New York
Small and perfectly formed. Has always stocked the best in fashion, furnishings and fine things. They now have a separate men’s store but its the original building overlooking the Plaza which is the star. Great restaurants, an Erno Laszlo Institute, all the worlds top designer labels in chic surroundings and incredibly luxe decor from basement to top floor – most stores get less glizty the higher you go. A must see when in New York. Try the cheesecake and watch the ladies who lunch….

lee

2. 10 Corso Como, Milan
Agree. This has been much immitated. Very high fashion with a great cafe and bookstore. Chic but unpretentious. Well worth a visit

3. Liberty, London
Small – and even smaler now they sold the Regent St bit- but beautiful store that is actually made in part from old ship’s timbers. The store lost its way in the 1980s but in the last five years has become the best bet in London for the discerning shopper. Interiors have been restored and refitted in a quirky English chic style and the buyers have gone into overdrive with sourcing new and exciting fashions and furnishings. Very strong on mens and womens fashion, beauty and fragrance and unusual home items. Because of the relatively small size its a lot easier to navigate than Selfridges or Harrods and the selections are more tightly edited making a trip here enjoyable rather than exhausting. They have some nice cafes and a champagne / oyster bar as well.
Recommended

Lee

4. Au Bon Marche, Paris
Shares the title of Oldest department store in the world with the now defunct Kendal Milne & Co. in Manchester, England. Opening in the 1830s. The store is slightly away from the hustle and bustle of the right bank (Galleries Lafayette, Printemps) and doesnt have their tourist value (no art nouveau glass dome or panoramic restaurant). But it is a very well stocked chic Parisian store where you can shop calmly and get great service. They also have a large food hall/store – La Grand Epicerie de Paris – which has the best chocolate croissants I have ever eaten. Galleries Lafayette and Printemps both deserve a visit but if you have already seen them you should try Bon Marche for a true Parisian shopping experience.

5. Dover Street Market, London
Not really a department store in the old sense but it is unique, quirky and very interesting in that it completely changes decor/layout every few months. Lots of serious high fashion for men and women and a small cafe selling delicious cakes on the top floor. A novel experience.

Other stores worth a look include Fortmum & Mason London – very expensive though, Colette in Paris – high fashion and Jeffrey in New York. Harrods food halls are worth a visit if you go early to see how most old department stores used to look before they were modernised / demolished – i.e. full on 19th/early 20th century grandeur..

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