Several times I've been questioned about the difference between a HiO store and the typical department store. Here are the three main factors differentiating HiO versus other retailers
HiO stores are targeting a 'single consumer' vs department stores that are organized by product category. As a shopper I want to be rounded by products that I like, the potential of cross-selling (this is key in today's retail strategy) is much higher, and in consequence all KPI's: units per transaction, average sales ticket, customer loyalty, etc. are better.
HiO store size and customer journey are critical. My 22 years old daughter never will tour a department store to find, eventually, shoes that she likes. Google is teaching us that browsing time should be limited, totally against a department store typical structure and size.
HiO respects 100% the integrity of each brand-partner. HiO is a marketplace, with a clear customer journey, but when a HiO fan is in front of one of our brand-partners, she/he is totally immerse in the brand (in addition our sales team is well trained on it).
Considering most department stores are on a restructuring process, HiO may be a good model for them.