Can Nordstrom’s full-line men’s store make it in Manhattan?

Discussion
Photos: Nordstrom
Apr 10, 2018

Nordstrom is taking a “go big or go home” approach to the opening of its first full-line store in Manhattan.

The location, at the corner of 57th and Broadway, will be dedicated to men’s clothing, shoes and grooming needs. The store will stock a wide range of clothing and shoes with designer items priced in the thousands of dollars down to $50 sneakers.

Those living in the city know that they can get takeout at virtually any hour of the night. The same will be true for men’s clothing from Nordstrom’s new store. The retailer will offer 24/7 curbside pickup for online orders of items available through the store’s inventory. Nordstrom, which tested 24/7 curbside pickup at 10 stores during the 2017 Christmas season, will offer the service year-round at the new location.

Nordstrom’s reputation has been built on legendary service, and its men’s store will be no exception, offering a wide variety of bespoke clothing and customized products. The New York Times reports that Nordstrom will have 16 tailors on staff.

The store, according to USA Today, will feature a bar upstairs where customers can get a glass of wine and a bite to eat. Customers who prefer to drink while they shop can have their order brought to them by an associate.

Nordstrom will also offer same-day delivery in Manhattan for a $20 fee. Customers unhappy with their purchases can take advantage of the store’s express return service, which will allow them to scan a receipt and place it along with the unwanted item in a bag provided by the store that goes into a return box.

The men’s store will be Nordstrom’s first take on a full-line store in Manhattan. The company will open a seven-floor women’s store across the street from its men’s store in the fall of 2019.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What will Nordstrom need to do to be successful with its full-line men’s store in Manhattan? How likely is the store to be successful?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"It's good that Nordstrom's paying attention to the peculiarities/demands of a local market rather than trying to be everything to everyone everywhere."
"The ability to shop at any hour of the day and pick up at any hour of the day could be a real win for the the city that never sleeps."
"This is Nordstrom! All they have to do is be themselves. Deliver the amazing level of service they are known for..."

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14 Comments on "Can Nordstrom’s full-line men’s store make it in Manhattan?"


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Neil Saunders
BrainTrust

It certainly sounds like Nordstrom is pulling out all the stops for its new store. It needs to! Manhattan is a crowded and extremely competitive market that is already oversupplied with retail space.

As much as I think all the services Nordstrom is offering will be valuable, I believe that success comes down to the product. Own brands, exclusive lines, new product launches are necessary and will all help differentiate Nordstrom and make it a destination.

This is an expensive bet for Nordstrom – and one that will get even more costly when the women’s store is opened. Fortunately, Nordstrom is a sensible operator that usually executes well – and that will maximize its chances of success!

Nikki Baird
BrainTrust

Well, my husband would certainly be willing to go there, if we lived in Manhattan. He’s always complaining about men’s departments that are half the size of women’s (I would point out that he buys clothes about half as often as I do, but that’s not something I would particularly want to draw attention to).

The thing is, Manhattan is a special beast. It’s good that Nordstrom is paying attention to the peculiarities and demands of a local market, rather than trying to be everything to everyone everywhere. Things like $20 curbside pickup 24/7 might have critical mass to be successful in Manhattan, but just might not be worthwhile anywhere else. So I’m not sure that what eventually works there will really work well anywhere else — but at least Nordstrom is experimenting and trying.

Bob Amster
BrainTrust

Deliver the service for which the retailer is already known while selling expensive products of high perceived value. The assortment can’t be moderately priced because of the high cost of doing business, but the customer will have to be willing to pay the price.

Zel Bianco
BrainTrust
I walked by yesterday and it did not look like it was open yet but I thought it looked pretty impressive. It’s in an area that will attract both New Yorkers and tourists which they will need to make it a success. As we discussed the other day, in the discussion on whether men shop differently than women — having a store where men can purchase absolutely everything they need from suits to shirts to ties and shoes will be important to New Yorkers. The ability to shop at any hour of the day and pick up at any hour of the day could be a real win for the the city that never sleeps. Although this may seem silly to many, trust me, it is a perk that many guys in this town will indeed take advantage of. My biggest concern for the success of this store will be cost. They are going to have to cater to those that may want to buy one or two items at an increased cost over other… Read more »
Dick Seesel
BrainTrust

It’s an easy yes, in part because of the brand equity already built up. If Nordstrom brings its content and service standards to play — along with a healthy dose of localization — the men’s store should be a big win.

Lyle Bunn (Ph.D. Hon)
Guest

Shopping Nordstrom for menswear is such a wonderful experience. I am partial to the downtown Eaton Centre location that features a wide selection, bar and an on-location restaurant. Extremely knowledgable staff make all the difference and they have placed their stake at the right place on the continuum of no pressure, closing and cross-sell. For men who hate shopping but must shop, Nordstrom is an excellent retail option for high quality, distinctive menswear. Longer-standing menswear shops will be the big losers as a next generation of dapper dudes (myself not included) grow in appreciation of their appearance and gentlemen seek better product information when voting with their wallet.

Mohamed Amer, PhD
BrainTrust
Mohamed Amer, PhD
Independent Board Member, Investor and Startup Advisor
4 years 1 month ago

The big draw for Nordstrom is not doing what other retailers do but what is unique about Nordstrom the brand. A full-line men’s store in Manhattan will become a destination on its own as long as the promise of impeccable service is delivered every step of the way.

This is a bold move by Nordstrom that combines the core values of the brand with new and appropriate technology and processes that enhance — and do not overshadow — the brand experience and the focus on the individual customer.

This is a back-to-basics approach in one of the most demanding retail markets anywhere.

Ryan Mathews
BrainTrust

I think that Nordstrom is making many of the right moves, but the company needs to look at its value proposition. In many of the communities it operates in Nordstrom is, if not the high end of the market, close to the high end. Not true in Manhattan. In some places personal shopping may be a unique value add. Not in Manhattan. In some markets Nordstrom may represent the apex of customer service for the well-heeled set. Again, not in Manhattan. So while I wish them well and believe they can be successful, I think they need to make sure that they cultivate a loyal customer community as soon as possible. There’s a lot of competition out there.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

This is Nordstrom! All they have to do is be themselves. Deliver the amazing level of service they are known for and have the selection of the A stores their clientele expects. I love the idea of a full-line men’s store in a market that is as robust as Manhattan.

William Passodelis
Guest

Some men enjoy shopping however many do not. Nordstrom makes it possible through their assortment and service to make shopping tolerable for most guys who dislike it. They will undoubtedly do what they do everywhere else, and in Manhattan seem to be ready to scale up even more, as well. Also, service at some stores in NYC has fallen — EVEN though it is NYC! Nordstrom will be able to be a STAR. If they stick to what they do, and add the enhancements for NYC, I can not see them with anything but success! I wish them well. They truly are an enjoyable experience everywhere I have shopped them!

Cynthia Holcomb
BrainTrust

Watch out Manhattan, Nordstrom is finally here. As described, the new men’s store appears to be a sleek mix between Kennedy’s Camelot and an Uptown Urban mix. Given Nordstrom’s welcoming staff and desire to please customers, it seems like it’s all hands on deck for a great performance. Bravo!

Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust
Ricardo Belmar
Retail Transformation Thought Leader, Advisor, & Strategist
4 years 1 month ago

This is exactly what I would expect from Nordstrom – a customer-first focus adapted to local needs in a way only Nordstrom can deliver. I expect this store will be very successful – I’ll be planning to stop by on my next trip to NY! It is an expensive bet for them to take on, but what better way to differentiate their new presence in Manhattan. It will be very interesting to see how successful the 24/7 pickup is and whether the $20 same-day delivery will be accepted ( I suspect yes, but only because it’s Manhattan).

The final key to this puzzle will be in the merchandise offered. It appears they intend to appeal to a wide variety of New York shoppers, perhaps taking a page out of the Macy’s playbook? I also expect this to be a tourist shopping destination which should help their sales.

Craig Sundstrom
Guest

Good Lord! If Nordstrom can’t be successful in NYC which has a retail market bigger than many states — quite literally — then retail as we know it is doomed.

And speaking of which, doomed, and of Lord — as in Lord and Taylor — I think the more interesting question is what if any future Fifth Avenue will have as the traditional (retail) “Main Street” of the city with the pending downsizing of the latter.And then what the further weakening will mean to Macy’s, as lower Fifth’s ability to bridge between Herald Square and Rockefeller Center-57th St. is continuing to weaken.

Shelley E. Kohan
BrainTrust

Ironically, the main differentiator for Nordstrom will be delivery service. In NY, higher-end retailers’ biggest online business comes from customers who live within a 1-2 mile radius of the store. This means that if Nordstrom can “deliver” high quality product to the customer in Manhattan, they will be successful.

Nordstrom’s loyal customers are the some of the most engaged in the industry and this will certainly align with the top echelon of customers in Manhattan. The legendary knowledgeable sales associates will also contribute to the big win in NYC. For Nordstrom, partnering with hotels and the concierges at the big hotels will help foster sales with the transient customer.

wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"It's good that Nordstrom's paying attention to the peculiarities/demands of a local market rather than trying to be everything to everyone everywhere."
"The ability to shop at any hour of the day and pick up at any hour of the day could be a real win for the the city that never sleeps."
"This is Nordstrom! All they have to do is be themselves. Deliver the amazing level of service they are known for..."

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