Nordstrom is an upscale chain of American department stores, with its flagship store in Seattle, Washington. It was founded in 1901 by J.H. Nordstrom and C.F. Wallin. Beginning as a shoe store, it sells a wide array of department store merchandise. This includes clothing, fragrances, hangbags, cosmetics, and jewelry. It competes with Macy's.
In 1887, Nordstrom emigrated to the United States. Nordstrom was born in Sweden. His birth name was Johan Nordstrom. In 1901, along with Wallin, they started a shoestore called Wallin & Nordstrom. A second store opened in 1923. Later, both Nordstrom and Wallin retired and gave the chain to Nordstrom's three sons. Soon, they renamed the store Nordstrom casual shirts for womens. They still only sold shoes in the late 60s. In 1969, Nordstrom purhased Best Apparel of Seattle and the company was renamed Nordstrom Best.
By 1975, Nordstrom expanded into Alaska (the only time by acquisition) by purchasing Northern Commercial Company and opened its first Nordstrom Rack clearance store in Seattle. A strong northwest regional retailer with sales already approaching $250 million making it the third-largest specialty retailer in the United States, the company opened its first Southern California store at South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa in 1978. By the early 1990s, it had opened 26 stores plus Racks in California. Subsequent expansion relied on creating a strongly decentralized regional structure, beginning with the Northeast in the Tysons Corner Center in Virginia (1988), the Midwest in the Oakbrook Center in Illinois (1991), the Southeast in Atlanta (1998), and the Southwest in Dallas (1996). In a new region, the initial store was used as a base for training and recruitment for subsequent expansion, and was usually backed by its own distribution center. From 1978 to 1995, Nordstrom opened a total of 46 full-line department stores.
In 1976, Nordstrom opened a series of stores called Place Two to sell a more limited selection of apparel in smaller markets. By 1983, there were ten Place Two stores, but the cost of upgrading the smaller stores, especially from a systems perspective, outweighed the benefit, and the division was discontinued. The company also expanded into direct sales in 1993, beginning with a catalog division led by John N.'s son Dan that was followed by an e-commerce business. Nordstrom.com's fulfillment and contact centers are located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Seattle, Washington. Currently, it has distribution centers in Ontario, California; Newark, California; Portland, Oregon; Dubuque, Iowa; Upper Marlboro, Maryland; and Gainesville, Florida.
Nordstrom FSB, a wholly owned subsidiary of Nordstrom, Inc., is a federally chartered savings bank Nordstrom Bank. It was formed in 1991 in Scottsdale, Arizona, with its customer contact center in Centennial, Colorado. Nordstrom FSB was formerly known as Nordstrom National Credit Bank and changed its name to Nordstrom FSB in March 2000. The bank offers various banking and credit products, such as Nordstrom Signature VISA, Nordstrom retail credit and debit cards, interest-bearing checking accounts, check cards, and certificates of deposits. It offers Nordstrom customers cards under Nordstrom Rewards – its program – where customers earn points when making purchases with the card at Nordstrom and other retailers. Other rewards include Nordstrom Notes which are redeemed or used like cash in stores for new purchases and the Nordstrom Signature VISA card also has an optional travel/leisure rewards feature. The Nordstrom program features 4 levels of status depending on annual spending and offers various promotional times throughout the year to earn double, triple and even ten-times points.
Beginning in 1995, the fourth generation of brothers and cousins served as co-presidents for a time. After John Whitacre served as the first non-Nordstrom CEO in 1997, In 1998, Nordstrom replaced its downtown Seattle store with a new flagship location in the former Frederick & Nelson building across the street. At 383,000 square feet (35,600 m2), the downtown Seattle location is the chain's largest store. By contrast, the smallest Nordstrom store, as of September 2008, opened in 1980 in Salem, Oregon, with a total area of just under 72,000 square feet (6,700 m2).
In 2000 the Nordstrom family reasserted its control, with the sons of Bruce A. (Blake, Erik and Peter) assuming senior roles in the company which they continue to hold. Blake Nordstrom served as sole President of the company from 2000-2014 with Erik and Peter joining him as co-Presidents in 2015.
Nordstrom sold its stand-alone boutique chain Façonnable in 2007, though it still offers that label in its lineup. In February 2011, Nordstrom announced the acquisition of HauteLook, an LA-based online retailer that offers flash sales on designer goods. The deal included Nordstrom paying $180 million in stock and a three-year "earn-out" payment based on HauteLook's financial performance.
On May 26, 2011, Nordstrom announced that they would be closing the downtown Indianapolis, Indiana Circle Center Mall location due to declining business at the site. The remaining location on the north side of the city at the Fashion Mall at Keystone as well as the future Nordstrom Rack store in the Rivers Edge Shopping Center, also on the north side, remained as the only two locations in the state. Erik Nordstrom, president of stores at Nordstrom stated, "We've enjoyed serving our customers in downtown Indianapolis, but unfortunately our business has declined over the long term for some time and despite our efforts to turn things around we don't see the outlook significantly changing."
In August 2011, Nordstrom opened the store Treasure & Bond in SoHo, New York. Intended to test the waters of the tumultuous high-end department store scene in New York, all profits of Treasure & Bond are donated to charity. The customer base of the smaller store is thought to be the younger sisters of the typical Nordstrom customer.
Nordstrom announced plans to open a Nordstrom Rack in Milwaukee in 2014. In late November 2012, Nordstrom announced that they would also be opening a full-line Nordstrom Department Store in 2015 in Milwaukee at Mayfair Mall, a half-mile away from the Nordstrom Rack location. Milwaukee was the largest metropolitan area in the country that did not have a Nordstrom until 2015. Such unmet demand was highlighted in Nordstrom's decision to open in the Milwaukee area.
On January 4, 2013, Nordstrom confirmed a new location in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul metropolitan region. To be located at the Ridgedale Center, it would be the second in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul area. Following the success of its Mall of America opening in 1992, Nordstrom has sought to expand in the Twin Cities market. Plans were originally made in 2007 to open at Ridgedale Center in 2011, only to be canceled in 2009. It opened in September 2015.
Nordstrom opened its first Rack location in Philadelphia in the fall of 2014. In the fall of 2015, Nordstrom opened their first Nordstrom Rack store in Delaware. The company is opening its first full-line store in New York City on April 12, 2018, a three-floor store at 57th Street and Broadway.
In 2016, Nordstrom entered into a partnership with Tesla Motors under which the automaker opened retail galleries inside the Nordstrom locations in The Grove, Los Angeles, in SouthPark Mall in Charlotte, North Carolina and in Somerset Collection in Troy, Michigan.
In 2016, Nordstrom began selling products from J. Crew, Olivia Palermo + Chelsea28, Adore Me, and Eloquii. In 2017, Nordstrom announced they would be expanding their natural beauty-focused stations. Stations would include products from Origins, Tata Harper, and Bare Minerals.
On February 2, 2017, Bloomberg News reported that Nordstrom would cease to carry Ivanka Trump's branded fashion line, citing weak sales. The retailer cuts 10 percent of its most poorly performing brands each year. Nordstrom's action came after a boycott campaign against retailers carrying products having Trump family labels. President Donald Trump responded with a tweet directed at Nordstrom, condemning the brand for its treatment of his daughter. The company's stock dropped by 0.65% in the aftermath of the tweet before ending the day with a gain of more than 4%. Fortune declared this quick recovery to have broken Trump's market-moving "tweet curse".
In October 2017, Nordstrom launched its first "Nordstrom Local" in West Hollywood, which is set to focus on personal shopping and styling, rather than carrying merchandise. In June 2017, Nordstrom Inc.'s founding family, which owned 31.2 percent of the company, said it was looking to take Nordstrom private. In October, the family suspended its efforts, because of trouble completing a financing package. Lenders were asking for 13 percent interest, about twice the typical rate for retailers.
On January 2, 2019 Blake Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom, died suddenly at the age of 58. He was a lifetime employee of his family's company, rising through the ranks until he became a vice-president and then co-president.
Now, Nordstrom competes mainly against Macy's and sister store Bloomingdale's, but also with other chains like Kohl's and JCPenney, which are not as upscale. Nordstrom stores feature a cafe or espresso bar in them. The entrees served vary from store to store, as well as the name of the cafe. Both the "Classic Cafe" and "Marketplace Cafe" are more casual and offer items such as sandwiches, soups, and salads. "Cafe Bistro" specializes in brick oven entrees and the "Nordstrom Grill" offers both food and alcoholic beverages. Their espresso bar was discontinued and then re-introduced as "eBar". Many shopping malls that have Nordstrom department stores in them, also have Nordstrom Rack. This is Nordstrom's clearance store line that sells discount apparel.
For years, employees have been given a gray card called the Nordstrom's Employee Handbook. It reads:
Welcome to Nordstrom
We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.
Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.
Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.
- Fashion Island in Newport Beach, CA
- Irvine Spectrum Center in Irvine, CA
- Mall of America in Bloomington, MN
- Oakbrook Center in Oak Brook, IL
- Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, KS
- South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, CA
- Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg, IL
- Menlo Park Mall in Edison, NJ