Retail industry mourns the loss of Blake Nordstrom
The retail industry has begun reacting to the news that Blake Nordstrom, co-president of the department store chain that bears his family name, has died.
The passing of Mr. Nordstrom, 58, comes as a surprise after he announced in a letter to employees last month that he and his doctors were “optimistic and encouraged” about his prospects following a lymphoma diagnosis.
Mr. Nordstrom, who shared the title of co-president with his brothers, Peter and Erik, ran the company’s Nordstrom Rack business while handling functions that typically come with a CEO title. He was a member of the fourth generation of the Nordstrom family to run the company.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail and a member of the RetailWire BrainTrust, told The Seattle Times that Mr. Nordstrom exemplified the retailer’s historic approach to managing the business.
“Not being afraid to test things out, not being afraid to change, making decisions to invest in the business even though it causes short-term challenges,” said Mr. Saunders.
“He was one of the greats of the industry, and it’s sad to see him go at such a young age,” said Steve Sadove, former CEO of Saks Inc, told The Wall Street Journal. “We competed but we were also friends. Blake and the whole Nordstrom family really took the long view and tried to do what was right for the consumer.”
“In retail, we have been blessed with thoughtful visionaries. They impact all of those who are touched by the industry — whether through employment, through giving back to communities they serve or through a personal and heartfelt belief that leadership is not a right, but an opportunity to make a positive and lasting impact for current and future generations of those that follow,” said Matthew Shay, president and CEO of the National Retail Federation, in a statement. “Blake Nordstrom embodied that commitment.”
- Statement from Nordstrom – Nordstrom
- Nordstrom co-President Blake Nordstrom, who treated employees like family, is dead at 58 – The Seattle Times
- Blake Nordstrom, a Scion of Retail Dynasty, Has Died – The Wall Street Journal
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What are your thoughts on Blake Nordstrom’s contribution to the retail industry? Will Nordstrom’s co-president management structure make it easier for the retailer to handle the transition it will go through following the passing of Blake Nordstrom?