Will Nordstrom Win With Savvy Younger Women?

Discussion
Apr 02, 2013

We’ve seen it first hand. A younger woman with a strong interest in fashion will put off buying new, expensive clothes to acquire the latest electronic gadget. No, she won’t forsake her fashion objectives, but she’s likely to try one of a number of upscale consignment or vintage clothing shops/sites to fill out her wardrobe.

According to a report last week by The Seattle Times, Nordstrom has run into something similar and is now looking to attract 20- to 30-somethings with remodeled "Savvy" clothing departments featuring lower priced (not low priced) clothing. The report says that Nordstrom’s latest move is complementary to its debut of Topshop clothing in 14 Nordstrom stores last year.

Another change in the Savvy departments is how frequently Nordstrom changes the merchandise on the floor.

"This is newness at a faster rate," Tricia Smith, general merchandise manager of women’s apparel at Nordstrom, told The Seattle Times. "The product comes in at twice the rate of other departments, and we’re able to react more quickly."

Nordstrom also continues to look to attract new shoppers with its Rack concept. This month, the chain announced it would open new locations in the future in Chicago, IL, Louisville, KY and Sarasota, FL. The company currently has 119 Nordstrom Racks with plans to have 140 units, offering merchandise at 50 to 60 percent off Nordstrom prices, in operation by the end of next year.

Is Nordstrom on the right track to gain younger female fashion shoppers? Should there be any concern Nordstrom may be diluting its brand equity by selling down to attract younger women to its stores?

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10 Comments on "Will Nordstrom Win With Savvy Younger Women?"


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Cathy Hotka
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

It’s important that Nordstrom remain competitive with younger customers. You have only to look at Neiman’s Cusp concept for younger women, featuring stylish and beautiful fashion-forward merchandise. Nordstrom is smart to keep this important segment engaged and delighted, and poised to remain an important constituency in adulthood.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
5 years 11 months ago

Fashion and youthfulness are intoxicants of the female mind and Nordstrom wants to capitalize on this natural feminine phenomenon. Their current extension of price points in fashion offerings carries with it the aura of Nordstrom and the youthful chic of Target.

Dilution of the Nordstrom brand equity mystique is always the specter cloud that hangs over progress and expansion. But Nordstrom is not prone to achieve mistakes.

Liz Crawford
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

I don’t believe Nordstrom will dilute its equity by launching its “Savvy” concept. There has been a precedent among high-end apparel retailers and clothing brands to roll out less expensive alternatives: Saks Off Fifth, DKNY, Filene’s Basement, Barney’s Warehouse, D&G, etc.

Rather, the question is whether Savvy itself will be a success. It sounds like a “fast fashion” competitor to an H&M or Zara’s, which isn’t really in their DNA. I would be surprised if this met its financial goals.

Bill Emerson
Guest
Bill Emerson
5 years 11 months ago

Retailers who fail to cultivate the next generation (with less disposable income) will ultimately disappear as their core customers age and spend less. The retail graveyard is filled with examples of once-great brands that failed to bridge generations. Nordstrom is doing what they have to do to survive and continue to prosper.

Roger Saunders
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

“Fast Fashion” has been a successful tool of H&M and Zara in many parts of the world, including in the U.S. It offers value, to be sure, but it also ups the sense of adventure and shopping that much needed in American retail.

In addition, if Nordstrom can offer a model that appeals to the Anthropology and Forever 21 set, they bring a segment to their stores that feeds the future.

Based on Prosper Insights & Analytics’ Monthly Consumer Survey, Nordstrom’s sweet spot is a 25-44 year old adult, with a household income of nearly $88,000 per year, indexing a 154 compared to the general population. Those moms and dads can bring in young teens/tweens. This move can add strength to the 18-24 year old segment, a group that hasn’t found its way to the store yet—only 4% of Nordstrom shoppers come from that population segment.

Smart move.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

The department store business model is in trouble and even in bigger trouble with younger generations. Nordstrom will not solve the problem with a new line. It is all about consumer behavior and department stores do not fit the behavior of Millennials.

James Tenser
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

Funny how no retailer is ever questioned for moving upscale to meet market opportunity, but when one moves downscale to match market reality we launch a critical review.

My first law of Retailativity (the law of circularity) states that under different circumstances, circumstances will be different. In other words, stuff changes all the time, so we can’t remain slavish to obsolete practices and rules of thumb.

In this instance the values and expectations of the younger shopper audience are different from those of its predecessors. A smart retailer will recognize and adapt to that evolution. A truly wise one will explain its reasoning in terms that don’t freak out its shareholders.

So far, I’d say Nordstrom is behaving like one truly wise.

Lee Peterson
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

I think it’s great, they can do it and they have permission to do it. That customer already buys shoes there and occasionally transits to other areas just because. And besides, what would be better for a fashion-oriented customer than a more organized XXI?

Craig Sundstrom
Guest
5 years 11 months ago

Nordstrom is in a rather difficult position. It’s been about 20-30 years since it moved beyond the friendly confines of that rain shadow we call the Pacific Northwest, which means that it is now—or will soon become—the store “where my mom shopped”…something which I’ve heard is a kiss of death. But at the same time, it isn’t a Saks or Tiffany’s—i.e. a legacy store that’s embraced as a family tradition. So it needs something to get it past that former phase into the latter. Is this it? We’ll see.

Mike Osorio
Guest
Mike Osorio
5 years 11 months ago

Nordstrom has largely avoided the ‘a store for mom’ label of other department stores due to its incredible service and local buying emphasis. Savvy should be a good fit for the retailer as it delivers cool fashion in a high service environment. This is not an attempt to compete with H&M, XXI, etc.—those are cheap, fast fashion environments. This is trend-right fun fashion in a high service environment.

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