Several types of stores were identified as junior department stores, all of which had in common merchandise organized into departments and store sizes ranging from 30,000 to 100,000 square feet (2,800 to 9,300 m2) (according to author James Cooper) but sometimes smaller, especially in the case of large variety stores that promoted themselves as junior department stores. The types of stores called junior department stores included:
Traditional department store with merchandise organized into departments and which was normally sold for "full price", i.e. there was not the implication of its being a discount store or prices being permanently lower than full-price stores. They were "junior" in the sense of being either 1) of a smaller size, often stated as less than 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2), and/or 2) as having fewer lines of merchandise, or departments, than a regular (larger) department store, particularly hard goods such as major appliances, which North American department stores generally carried during that era. Examples of stores that fulfilled the criteria of being divided into departments and in the size range are:
Small-format upscale department stores such as Buffums which might be called specialty department stores. Hong Kong's Lane Crawford and UK's Harvey Nichols are also considered as specialty department store, as it focuses on selling luxury goods.
Larger clothing stores with no home furnishings or hard goods at all, but which were large enough to be considered small department stores. Examples in Southern California were Silverwoods and Harris & Frank.
Fast fashion brands such as Zara, H&M and Primark are often confused with the specification, as they not only sold clothing but also home goods and cosmetics under their own brand.
^Cooper, James (1973). Real Estate and Urban Land Analysis. Lexington Books. p. 705. A junior department store...occupies less area than a department store...usually under 100,000 sq. ft.... often 30,000 to 60,000 sq. ft.
^McKeever, James Ross (1977). Shopping Center Development Handbook. Urban Land Institute, Commercial and Office Development Council. p. 69, 81-82. The term junior department store...generally refers to a store that does not carry the full lines customary in department stores and that is smaller than a department store as measured in GLA [gross leasable area]