Luxury department store chain, Nordstrom, yesterday announced that it will open a tiny 3,000 square foot store in Los Angeles that will not sell any clothing merchandise but instead offer services like personal stylists as also refreshments like beer and wine. The company which operates 121 full service department stores along with a chain of Rack discount stores, said it reflected changing customer tastes and behavior. The Nordstrom Local store, as it will be called, will open 3 October.
"As the retail landscape continues to transform at an unprecedented pace, the one thing we know that remains constant is that customers continue to value great service, speed and convenience," said Shea Jensen, Nordstrom senior vice president of customer experience, in a statement.
Nordstrom is only the latest major retailer to try the smaller format approach as sales decline at its physical stores. Comparable sales at Nordstrom's full-service department stores plunged 7 per cent in the first half of the current fiscal year.
Meanwhile, Target is focusing efforts on city centres, and Kohl's and Sears are shrinking many existing stores. Amazon.com has opened a number of bookstores with restricted selection than a Barnes & Noble store.
According to commentators, Nordstrom's move shows that it wants to test out formats and services to anticipate where shoppers are going in terms of habits.
The smaller store plan, meanwhile, has failed to appeal to investors as the company's shares saw their worst decline in more than a month after the department-store chain announced the new ''neighborhood-hub'' shop, set to open on 3 October in West Hollywood, California.
The idea is to give customers a feel of the clothing and accessories with the help of a personal stylist. If shoppers like what they try out, they can order the goods and have them delivered.
The Nordstrom Local store will house one styling suite, eight dressing rooms and a central meeting space where customers can talk to personal stylists.