Nordstrom Plans More Inventory-Less Stores


A few months after Nordstrom rolled out its Nordstrom Local concept in West Hollywood, the retailer is planning on adding two more locations in Southern California. The company is also open to bringing the concept to other cities, retail news source Chain Store Age reported.

The 3,000-square-foot store boasts multiple features. Shoppers can access personal stylists and on-site tailoring. In addition, customers can tap into omnichannel features such as buy online, pick up in-store. One interesting detail: The concept store doesn’t have one common brick-and-mortar feature — dedicated inventory.

The West Hollywood store also features a bar — because shopping is thirsty work — and functions as a pick-up and drop-off station for consumers. Orders placed before 2:00p.m. can be picked up on the same day. Tailors will be available for alterations or to help members of Nordstrom’s Trunk Club.

As of September, there were 121 “original recipe” Nordstroms nationwide, with a new one opening in Toronto. But the world is changing — and shoppers’ needs and habits are shifting — and Nordstrom wants to be sure it evolves right along with them: “There aren’t store customers or online customers; there are just customers who are more empowered than ever to shop on their terms,” Erik Nordstrom, co-president of the retailer, said.

Other retailers have experimented with inventory-free stores — Bonobos, most famously. For the most part, however, stores tend to resemble shoppable showrooms — and for a reason, according to Doug Stephens, founder of the consulting firm Retail Prophet. Wall Street tends to measure retailers against their sales per square foot. But Stephens believes “the economic model has to change.”

The news comes as Nordstrom also opened a full-line men’s store in Manhattan — three levels and 47,000 square feet — that is full of the latest service experiences, such as express return kiosks, same-day delivery and buy online, pick up in-store. The store has multiple tailors on staff, and shoppers can even make returns through digital kiosks without interacting with a staff member.


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