Thanks for Visiting!

Register for free to get the full story.

Sign Up
Already have a Placer.ai account? Log In

Department Store Deep-Dive: Nordstrom

by 
Ezra Carmel
 on 
February 14, 2023
Department Store Deep-Dive: Nordstrom

In our pre-holiday department store check-in, we noted positive trends for both the mid-range and luxury department store segments. In this blog, we’ll analyze the latest visit metrics for the department store space. Specifically, we’ll dive into Nordstrom, the visits share leader in the luxury department store category, and the impact of some of its brick-and-mortar strategies aimed at increasing efficiency and driving visits. 

Pandemic Bounce-Back

The pandemic brought much of brick-and-mortar retail to a halt in 2020, department stores included. But COVID vaccination and waning restrictions in 2021 – as well as stimulus dollars in the hands of consumers – contributed to strong brick-and-mortar foot traffic. And since the wider retail reopening in 2021, the demand for quality goods put the luxury department store segment – including Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Neiman Marcus – on top of its mid-tier peers Macy’s, Dillard’s, Kohl’s, and the like. Analysis of visit growth from a January 2021 baseline confirms that the luxury department store category consistently outperformed the mid-tier category in baseline visit growth. And Nordstrom, in its own right, outperformed both the mid-tier and luxury department store chains.

For most of 2022, visit growth for luxury department stores compared to the January 2021 baseline was significantly larger than that of their mid-tier counterparts. This likely had to do with soaring inflation in 2022 and the relative imperviousness of high-end shoppers in the face of macroeconomic headwinds.

So far in 2023, the luxury segment has sustained growth ahead of the department store pack, giving every indication that the luxury chains will continue to dominate the department store space. January 2023 visits to luxury department stores were up 22.0% while visits to mid-tier department stores were just 0.2% above the January 2021 baseline. 

Nordstrom Finds its Rightsize

One way Nordstrom – the largest of the upscale department store chains – has sustained growth ahead of its peers is by undertaking a decisive rightsizing strategy. Even before the pandemic, Nordstrom closed stores and continued to do so as the pandemic's impact on brick-and-mortar retail became more pronounced. And there are rumors the brand is not finished with its rightsizing efforts. 

These efforts have so far proven to be an effective strategy for driving more visits to Nordstrom’s locations. And as more consumers headed out of their pandemic-casual wardrobes, strong demand for occasion wear brought many visitors to the remaining Nordstrom stores. 

Comparing Nordstrom’s visits to a Q1 2019 baseline shows that since the majority of closures in 2020, visits per venue have been well ahead of overall visits, indicating that more visitors are frequenting Nordstrom's remaining locations.  

A Growing Audience

Along with optimizing its fleet, Nordstrom has demonstrated that partnerships with digitally-native brands (DNBs) have the potential to drive foot traffic to the chain. In general, pairing with an established brick-and-mortar retailer allows a DNB to efficiently build brand recognition among the larger retailer’s visitors while the larger retailer receives an exciting new line of products to drive fresh foot traffic. Nordstrom has long-term partnerships with Casper and Bonobos and in 2022 entered a partnership with Allbirds, the popular digitally-native shoe brand, which began to sell its products at Nordstrom’s stores and on its website.  

Diving deeper into Allbirds’ and Nordstrom’s decision to collaborate provides a better understanding of the rationale behind the partnership strategy. By embarking on the shared venture, there is significant potential for both brands to grow their audiences. Based on the AGS: Behavior & Attitudes dataset, the typical psychographic profile of visitors to Allbirds’ top stores in the last year was nearly identical to that of Nordstrom’s most popular locations. A large percentage of visitors to both brands fell into the “Classic Fashion Style” and “It’s All About the Look” segments along with several others. 

Since Allbirds and Nordstrom already appeal to visitors with similar values, their partnership is poised to drive mutual growth. As the audiences intersect, both brands can benefit from reaching a wider audience. 

The Lap of Luxury

In the current economic landscape, luxury department stores continue to outperform their mid-tier counterparts. And within the luxury category, Nordstrom appears to have found a recipe for success. The brand’s rightsizing campaign and partnerships with digitally-native brands allow it to grow its reach and separate itself from the department store pack.

For updates and more data-driven foot traffic insights, visit Placer.ai.

Get 3 brand & industry
breakdowns every week

Subscribe to the newsletter

Great! Prepare your inbox for data-driven insights...
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get a Demo

Please enter your first name
Please enter your last name
Please provide a valid email
Please enter your email
Please enter company name

Thanks for reaching out!

One of our experts will be in touch soon

Try Placer.ai Free
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Text Link
Nordstrom
Text Link
Department Stores
Text Link
Luxury
Coffee Chains: Q1 2024 Update and What’s Changed Since COVID
Checking in with RBI and YUM!
Chipotle & McDonald's Serving Up Success
Wingstop & Shake Shack Continue Growing Their Reach 
Strong Start for Sprouts in 2024
Crocs’ Footwear Fairytale
Who Attends NCAA Final Four Events?
Eclipse Fever: How Did the (Retail and Hospitality) Stars Align?
Exploring Albertsons Companies’ Grocery Growth
Placer.ai Mall Index: March 2024 Recap – Malls Rise Again
Placer.ai Office Index: March 2024 Recap
Florida Spring Break Break-Up? Travelers Still Love Florida!
Provo-Orem and Ogden-Clearfield Emerging As Utah Hotspots 
Three Formulas for Experiential Retail in 2024
Aldi & Lidl Making The Cut
Texas Suburbs on the Rise
Exploring Luxury Hotel Brands’ Guest Segmentation
The St. Patrick’s Day Effect
How Can JOANN Make a Comeback?
Panera Bread Well Positioned for Possible IPO
Who Will Benefit From Family Dollar’s Downsizing?
Dave & Buster’s and Main Event Entertainment: Food and Fun for Everyone
Darden Brands: Location Analytics and Consumer Behavior
Nike and lululemon: a Strong 2023, Sprinting into 2024
Where Is Retail and Dining Foot Traffic Thriving in Early 2024?
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – February 2024
Three Retail & Dining Chains That May Surprise in 2024
Specialty Discount Chains Rock Retail Therapy
Placer.ai Mall Index: February 2024
Placer.ai Office Index: February 2024 Recap
Ulta Beauty Continues To Shine
First Watch Sails Into 2024
Hibbett Sports and DICK’S Sporting Goods: A Psychographic Analysis
Checking in With Discount & Dollar Stores
Peeking Behind The Curtain: Movie Theaters in 2023 and Beyond
Diving Into Brick-and-Mortar Eyewear
Getting Into Gear: Exploring The Auto Part Industry
Recapping Valentine’s Day 2024 Foot Traffic Trends
Fitness: A Strong Start to 2024
Dutch Bros. Continues To Percolate Visits
Super Bowl 2024: Placer.ai’s Postgame Foot Traffic Analysis
CAVA & sweetgreen Are On the Rise
Hats Off For Off-Price
Who Is Shopping at Malls?
Drilling Down Into Home Improvement
Walmart, Target, Costco & Superstore Space 2023 Recap
Catching Up With Shake Shack and Wingstop
Something To Chew On: Demographic Shifts at Steakhouse Chains
Placer.ai Office Index: Looking Back at 2023
Recapping RBI & Yum! Brands’ 2023 Foot Traffic Performance
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – January 2024
Who Shops at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters?
Three Taco Chains to Watch in 2024
Starbucks and Dunkin’: 2023 in Four Data Points
Who Visits CVS and Walgreens?
Fashionably Frugal: Apparel in 2023
Catching Up With Fast Food
The Grocery Sector in 2023: An End-of-Year Recap
3 Mall & Shopping Center Trends for 2024
Bakery Chains Rising To The Top
Placer.ai and Esri Partner to Deliver Geospatial Analytics
Tampa Tourism Trends
Going For The Green: The Changing Dynamics Of Country Clubs
Christmas Day Dining Recap
Major Urban Shopping Districts – Holiday Season Recap
Placer.ai Office Index: December 2023 Recap
Recapping the 2023 Holiday Shopping Season
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – December 2023
7 Retail & Dining Segments to Watch in 2024
Diving Into Holiday Season Favorites
Super Saturday and Christmas Eve Eve: A Winning Combination
3 Budget Grocery Chains Finishing 2023 On a High Note
Making It In America: International Chicken Chains Bring The Heat
Domestic Tourism at a Glance: A Q3 2023 Roundup
Five Pizza Chains On The Rise
Jewelry Brands Taking Advantage of the DTC Opportunity
Secondhand News: Kids' Thrift Shops
Recapping 2023’s Dining M&As
MetLife Stadium Kicks Off Football Season
Placer.ai Office Index: November 2023 Recap
Small Coffee Chains Brewing Big Success
Placer.ai White Paper Recap – November 2023
Thanksgiving Travel 2023 Recap
Checking in With Nike and Lululemon
Black Friday 2023 Retail Recap
Starbucks’ 2023 Holiday Menu & Red Cup Day Performance
Turkey Wednesday 2023
Who Attended the 2023 Pickleball Championship? 
Three Surprising Holiday Shopping Trends
What’s in Store for Ulta Beauty This Holiday Season?
Best Buy and Department Stores: A Holiday Deep Dive
Discount & Dollar Stores: Strength Toward The End of the Year
The State of Off-Price Retail: Discounts Seal The Deal
Placer Mall Index Recap: October 2023
Placer.ai Office Index: October 2023 Recap
Retail Corridors Ahead of the 2023 Holiday Season
California, Here Gap Comes
Checking in With Home Improvement
Getting Into the Glasses Game: Warby Parker Takes Over
Fitness Positioned for a Strong 2023 Finish