Nordstrom CEO on Going Local

Like other retailers seeking to create customer experiences that engage with consumers on their terms, Nordstrom has begun testing a new concept focused on services. Nordstrom Local, as it’s called, gives customers convenient access to personal stylists, alterations and online orders, and in the first four weeks since it opened — in West Hollywood, Los Angeles ― the new experiment has generated interactions with thousands of customers, said CEO Blake Nordstrom, in the company’s third-quarter earnings call on Nov. 9.

After initial success, the retailer also has recently expanded to more than 50 stores across the country its Reserve Online and Try In-Store (ROTIS) service, whose speed and convenience has resonated with its customers; also, in cases where customers have chosen to do additional shopping, it has resulted in greater spending, said Nordstrom.

Its digital selling tool, Style Boards, is also helping to connect the digital and in-store experience with personalized product recommendations sent directly to customers’ mobile phones.

Also fueling newness at Nordstrom are new partnerships via Pop-In Shops with popular and emerging brands, including Warby Parker and Goop, while the department store’s recent partnership with Everlane has been its most successful Pop-In concept to date.

Collaboration with the popular fashion blog, Something Navy, to launch an exclusive capsule collection with its in-house Treasure & Bond brand is also forging connection with customers, and generated $2 million in demand on the first day.

During Q3, Nordstrom successfully relocated two full-line stores to Century City and University Towne Center, in Southern California, and also opened 11 new Rack stores and relocated one, while in Canada, the retailer opened the sixth and final of its announced full-line stores, at Sherway Gardens in Toronto.

To support the holiday shopping season, Nordstrom has expanded its online selection and fulfillment capacity. It is also offering BOPIS, with an option for curbside delivery in its full-line stores, and has introduced same-day delivery services to some markets as well.

For the third quarter, total sales for the Nordstrom brand decreased 1.2 percent and comps decreased 1.9 percent; at Nordstrom Rack, total sales increased 5.5 percent and comps increased 0.8 percent, which reflected a step down from recent trends, which Nordstrom attributed to a too-aggressive sales plan — too much inventory left the retailer unable to chase current trends. The Nordstrom Rack business remains highly productive and is approaching $5 billion in sales for the year.

Nordstrom’s stores in Puerto Rico, Southeast Florida and Houston were hard hit by the hurricanes, with the damage in Puerto Rico so extensive that the store remains closed as repair efforts continue.


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