Even without a physical store in Nevada, Nordstrom, a national leading fashion retailer, hasn’t been faring too badly among Silver State consumers. Despite the lack of a storefront in the state, the company still boasted nearly 26,000 Nordstrom credit card holders. “We’ve been serving many Nevada customers from our Southern California and Arizona stores for years, and we’ve wanted to build a store to serve them closer to home for a long time now,” said Nordstrom spokeswoman Amy Jones.
At last, Southern Nevadans who enjoy shopping at Nordstrom will now have to spend far less time on the road. For most in the Las Vegas Valley, shopping at Nordstrom will require little more than a short drive, thanks to the debut of the first Nordstrom in Nevada, which opened Nov. 1 at the Fashion Show mall.
“We hope the strong and diverse mix of retail, dining and entertainment at Fashion Show will make it a shopping destination for community residents and visitors alike,” said Alan Morrell, who manages the store.
Given the strong attraction the company already had among Nevada consumers, the decision to open a new store here was a logical progression in executing the Nordstrom business plan. Already, Nevada had the most Nordstrom cardholders the company has ever had in a new market. “We believe this was an indication that there were quite a few people in the community who would appreciate having a Nordstrom closer to home,” Jones said.
When it comes to making the decision to open a store in a new market, Jones said Nordstrom looks for: a strong retail environment; economic growth potential; and also shopping centers that include a strong and diverse mix of retail options. Those options include traditional apparel, dining and entertainment offerings. With this in mind, the company found a prime location inside the Fashion Show mall for its premier store in Nevada. The Fashion Show is located in a highly visible site on Las Vegas Boulevard, near the center of the Strip.
The mall is undergoing a major redevelopment and expansion that will make it one of the largest shopping centers in the nation. The two-phase, $1 billion project is expected to be completed by Oct. 2003. Nordstrom would not disclose the cost of building its individual store.
Part of the Fashion Show’s strength lies in its existing anchor stores, with names like Neiman Marcus, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Robinsons-May and Saks Fifth Avenue. Phase one of the expansion project was unveiled Nov. 1, with the opening of Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s Home and more than 130 new shops and restaurants. Another major anchor for the mall, Lord & Taylor, will open in phase two, along with an 11,000-square-foot food court.
The Fashion Show’s eight anchor stores and more than 300 smaller stores are expected to collectively produce an estimated $1 billion in annual sales by 2006. “These factors, on top of its accessible location near the highway, make it a center we hope will be a draw for both residents and visitors,” Jones said. Morrell said he is ready to meet the needs of Las Vegas’ unique market, which includes both locals and a large number of tourists.
Morrell, who began his career with Nordstrom 14 years ago, said he doesn’t think competition from the other major retailers in the mall will be a drawback to the store’s success. “We’ll offer many exclusive brands that won’t be available anywhere else in Las Vegas but Nordstrom, and we also offer a lot of amenities we hope will make shopping with us fun and convenient,” he said.
But Morrell said it is the employees who will really make Nordstrom stand out with its customers. The company hired 350 local employees for its newest location. “Our focus has been on hiring an incredible team,” Morrell said. “We know our team will have a great time getting to know our customers and making their shopping experience memorable.”
Customers can shop on three floors in nearly 200,000 square feet of space. The store was designed by Seattle-based Callison Architecture, and it was built by The Rouse Company, headquartered in Columbia, Md. The Las Vegas Nordstrom features two in-store eateries: the Marketplace Café, which serves salads, sandwiches, pizza and pasta, and the Ebar, an espresso bar featuring coffee drinks, smoothies and pastries. Some of Nordstrom’s specialty services are complimentary wardrobing, a concierge desk, professional tailoring and alterations, valet parking and a shoeshine stand.
Nordstrom, however, is best known for its extensive selection of clothing, shoes and accessories for men, women and children. Jones said prior to the grand opening, the regional buying team spent months making visits to the community, talking to residents and potential customers to try to get a feel for what they wanted. “They observed what people were wearing on the streets downtown, in offices, in restaurants and theaters in the evening,” Jones said. “They asked just about anyone who would talk to them what they’d like to see in our store, where they currently like to shop, what they’d like to see in terms of the community’s footwear, clothing and accessory offerings.”
The store has 31 individual apparel and accessory departments and five shoe departments. June Rau, Nordstrom’s western region fashion director, said each department within the store reflects a different lifestyle, making it easy for customers to identify with their fashion sense. “For example, those customers with a more traditional sense of style will find casual and career attire in Point of View or Studio 121, while those with a bolder sense of style will love the fashions in Savvy or t.b.d.,” Rau said.
Given Las Vegas’ booming economy and its reputation as a city on the cutting edge of both entertainment and fashion, Nordstrom is a perfect fit for the city, company officials said. “Las Vegas is an especially unique market because of its rapidly growing local population, as well as the year-round tourism,” Rau said. “We will continue to balance our merchandise selection for Las Vegas based on what we hear from both locals and tourists.”
The Nordstrom name has been known among fashion mavens for more than a century, ever since founder John W. Nordstrom opened his first shoe store with business partner, shoemaker Carl F. Wallin, in Seattle in 1901. Nordstrom, a Swedish immigrant, arrived in the United States in 1887 as a teen-ager with barely $5 in his pocket. After years of hard work in mines and logging camps on the West Coast, Nordstrom found his wealth in the gold mines of Alaska and the Klondike: a $13,000 stake, which he used to finance his new retail venture with Wallin.
By 1923, the shoe store had been successful enough to open a second store in Seattle’s University District. Nordstrom and Wallin eventually sold the company to Nordstrom’s sons, who set out to build a fashion retail empire.
Today, Nordstrom Inc. is publicly traded on The New York Stock Exchange under the symbol JWN. The company’s latest financial records reported year-to-date sales of $3.3 billion, a 4.8 percent increase compared to 2001 year-to-date sales of $3.2 billion.
With the opening of the Las Vegas Nordstrom, the company operates 142 stores in 27 states, in addition to its on-line store at nordstrom.com and direct mail catalogs. There are also 23 international Façonnable boutiques, located primarily in Europe, under the Nordstrom Inc. umbrella.
Morrell said there aren’t any plans in the immediate future to open another Nordstrom in Nevada. “At this point, our focus is on building the best Nordstrom we can at Fashion Show,” Morrell said. “We will see how people here like us before we make that decision