The two largest department stores in Australia are engaging in a "fashion war" at the moment. They are spending big bucks hiring famous faces and snuggling up to fashion designers. Will this help them stand apart from each other? I think not.
Both stores have had, and currently continue to have similar colour schemes, store layouts, range of goods, locations, and services. Their advertising is indistinguishable from each other. Even the newly hired famous faces (and bodies) look alike. Neither convey any unique sense of personality, or realness.
The underlying problem is short-term, bottom-line drive thinking. Instead of discovering what they are truly about (assuming they do stand for something), and letting that shine through in all their actions; the preference appears to be "let's use all the know tactics to sell more now". Thus we have Christmas sales, stocktake sales, once-in-a-lifetime sales, and oh-my-god-how-much-interest-is-on-that-store-card sales... And once you start playing in the price war category, the K-marts and Targets will win.
What should be really disturbing is this: I saw an ad just now that I thought was for one of these two - and guess what? It was an ad for Target. Of all the departmental stores, Target is the one to watch for innovative positioning.