Why Erik Nordstrom Is Excited About Finally Opening the Family Business in New York

The wait is over. Luxury retailer Nordstrom has landed in New York with the April 12 opening of its first-ever New York location, a men’s store on 57th Street. The 47,000-square-foot three-level location will be followed next year by a companion across the street focused on women’s and children’s.

Although Nordstrom boasts a string of locations around the country, New York poses unique opportunities and challenges for the veteran retailer. Here, co-president Erik Nordstrom shares his vision for the new business.

What’s the most exciting thing about coming to New York after all these years?

“The fact that we’re here is a bit surreal. [Over] lunch with my dad, I asked when he first looked for a space in New York. He said he was in his early 30s, and he’s 84 now. So it has been over 50 years. It’s been a long time coming, and it’s finally here.”

How has the opening of the men’s store first laid the groundwork for women’s next year?

“It’s helpful for us because we’re able to establish a presence. We’re able to establish a reputation as an employer. Then there are a lot of operational challenges of retail in New York, so there’s no doubt having this [location] will help us with the bigger store.”

Where does launching brick-and-mortar in the Big Apple fit into your omnichannel strategy?

“It completely fits with that. We view our business by how a customer shops with us. Our customer in New York engages with the assets we have. It’s our biggest market for ecommerce in the biggest city. We knew when we opened the store, our e-commerce business [would] increase about 20 percent. It’s how customers shop today. You don’t have ecommerce customers or store customers or even an omnichannel customer. Customers shop how they want to shop, even in-store, they will have their phones out. So it’s an opportunity to take a step change and serve the customer as they want to be served.”

What differentiates New York as a retail setting?

“Since it’s a dense urban area, there are services that can be enabled with digital tools that are meaningful. You’ll be able to buy [online] and pick up in store and drop returns off. And we have 24/7 pickup. There are things that wouldn’t make sense in many places, but in a city like this, where people aren’t pulling up their SUV to the door and walking out with a bunch of shopping bags, we have to have some more service capabilities.”

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