Nordstroms Inc.

September 8, 2012 20 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

MetroJacksonville explores the high-end "contemporary" department store Nordstroms.

Photo Credit: Wedding Dress 9

Nordstrom Headquarters and Department Store in Downtown Seattle

Company Founder (John W. Nordstrom)
Photo Credit: Nordstrom


Nordstrom department store was originally founded by John W. Nordstrom and business partner Carl Wallin in 1901 as Wallin & Nordstrom in downtown Seattle. The store primarily focused on shoe sales, and was based on John’s business philosophy of “exceptional service, selection, quality and value.”

With continued growth, the company had eight stores in Washington and Oregon by 1960.  The downtown Seattle store became the largest shoe store within the United States surpassing department stores in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles. The company was looking to expand and Nordstrom purchased Best Apparel a Seattle-based clothing store in 1963.

Through several acquisitions of clothing stores within the Pacific Northwest customers faced a new brand titled “Nordstrom Best.” In 1966 Men’s and Children’s wear were added and by 1971 the company went public. In 1973, Nordstrom sales grossed over $100 million dollars and soon became the largest-volume fashion specialty store in the West Coast. It wasn’t until this milestone the name was formally changed to the company’s present name “Nordstrom.Inc.”

As pictured a “Nordy” plush toy which is meant to resemble a shoehorn. Children were given these plush toys when the children’s shoe department opened.


Private investor Joshua Kennon mentions the “average” Nordstrom consumer.

"According to research from the private wealth division of Citibank, the average shopper at Neiman Marcus has household income of $250,000 per annum. The average Nordstrom customer, in contrast, earns $100,000 each year.

That means the average Neiman Marcus customer earns roughly $20,834 before taxes and, with standard deductions, probably $15,000 in take-home pay each month.  The average Nordstrom customer, in contrast, earns $100,000 each year, or $8,334 gross per month, which results in $6,000 net after tax deductions and payments.

Both shoppers are considerably higher than the $50,000 annually earned by the average American household and the $35,000 earned by the average Wal-Mart shopper.  Put another way, if you shop at Nordstrom you likely earn 2x the average American family and if you shop at Neiman Marcus, you likely earn 5x the average American family.

If you are a doctor, an attorney, a wealthy business owner, or a bank president, your wardrobe is incredibly important.  It instantly conveys to prospective clients that you are successful and good at what you do.  It is a symbol that instantly communicates without words.  Furthermore, your wardrobe is going to last probably an average of 3-5 years rolling.  That means that you could amortize the cost in accounting terms.”


Company aesthetics

The Santa Monica store (Handbags & Accessories)
Photo Credit: LA Racked

Today Nordstrom pride’s itself as a contemporary upscale department store. Nordstrom had over $1 billion dollars in cosmetic total sales. Nordstrom's is undergoing their next "evolution" with the partnership of British retailer Topshop and Topman to reach a younger demographic.  The Topshop/Topman brand arrives in store September 10th, and the collections are released via online or select Nordstrom stores.

Topman (men's style)/Topshop (women's style)
Photo Credit: The High Low

So what's next for Nordstroms? They have great appeal with their "lower cost" Nordstrom Rack stores. With the beginning of Nordstroms entering the Northeast Florida market could it mean we will eventually receive a Nordstrom Rack store? Only time will tell, but may all "fashionistas" and "fashionistos" rejoice for the 2014 opening of the Jacksonville store.