- Nordstrom opened its first menswear-only store in New York City on Thursday.
- The store combines in-store services such as tailoring, shoe shining, and food, with high-tech digital ordering and returns systems.
- Co-president Blake Nordstrom acknowledged that the industry is in a period of change as retailers shutter stores and shopping shifts online, but told Business Insider that the company has a “real opportunity to do this right” with its new store.
Nordstrom is going against the grain and opening stores in prime neighborhoods of Manhattan while other retailers close their doors. On Thursday, it opened its first menswear-only store near Columbus Circle, a block from Central Park.
“We’ve been looking for a store in Manhattan for 20 to 30 years,” Blake Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom, told Business Insider at the store opening. Blake Nordstrom explained that previous locations had fallen through in the past. This time, they “got lucky,” he said. “This the best place to be.”
The new store, which is positioned next to a TJ Maxx — a direct competitor of Nordstrom’s successful off-price chain, Nordstrom Rack— is seeking to be ahead of the curve in a sector that is evolving at a rapid rate. It does so by offering a wide range of services, such as tailoring and shoe shining, in-store.
A womenswear store will join it across the street in the fall of 2019, though these are the only stores of their kind the company has planned.
In recent years, Nordstrom’s e-commerce platform and its off-price stores have outshined its full-price stores, where same-store sales numbers have steadily declined since 2014.
“We think there is a real opportunity if we do this right with all the change taking place,” Blake Nordstrom said. “Retail is obviously changing, it’s always changing. That’s the nature of fashion.”
The challenge now is to incorporate the success of its e-commerce platform into its stores.
“The level of transparency you have for fashion — where you can buy it, where you return it — has never been greater. You’re really in control as the customer. As merchants, we need to have that functionality, that capability, otherwise, literally in seconds you can go somewhere else,” he said.
Analysts say the company is well-poised to capitalize on the difficulties retailers are facing currently.
“If everyone is retrenching from physical store presence, that is the time to expand,” Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial Partners, who has a “buy” position on Nordstrom, told Business Insider. “Especially if you have a good like this to do it.”
We visited Nordstrom’s new store to see what it’s like to shop there: