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Nordstrom Focuses on Manhattan

Pete Nordstrom made his intentions about Manhattan perfectly clear on Monday -- he wants Nordstrom to have a presence here.

NEW YORK — Pete Nordstrom made his intentions about Manhattan perfectly clear on Monday — he wants Nordstrom to have a presence here.

The president of Nordstrom Inc. outlined several possibilities for the chain, including the Fifth Avenue flagship of Lord & Taylor, which has been put on the block by Federated, as well as exploring the potential for smaller stores and space in SoHo or the Meatpacking District.

“We’re certainly interested in being here,” Nordstrom said during a luncheon for British designers, including Roland Mouret, Basso & Brooke’s Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke, Hussein Chalayan and Matthew Williamson. “If someone had a great location with 100,000 square feet in New York, we’d listen. We would also consider doing small stores elsewhere.”

He gave no timetable for opening in Manhattan.

In terms of neighborhoods, Nordstrom said: “We’re flexible. We’re not locked into any specific neighborhood. SoHo is great. Bloomingdale’s showed us what’s possible there. I’m sure we’d be open to the Meatpacking District. One thing Jeffrey [Kalinsky, director of designer merchandising for women’s and men’s at Nordstrom] has talked about is how he took an out-of-the-way neighborhood and made it happen, and that if we picked the right project, we could do the same thing.”

Nordstrom was in New York for the Metropolitan Museum of Art gala to celebrate the Costume Institute exhibition “AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion.”

“We’re moving full-steam ahead with our fashion initiative and our designer initiative,” Nordstrom said. “We have a large British presence in our stores.”

The chain’s last serious discussions involving locations in New York were with the developer of the Shops at Columbus Center, Nordstrom said. And in that case, the economics and fit with the developer weren’t right.

The Lord & Taylor site is worth about $360 million, according to analysts. Given the high price of the real estate and the likelihood that the site will become a mixed-use project, Nordstrom said the company probably would have to work with a developer.

As for smaller stores, the company will open in Naples, Fla., in spring 2008 with 80,000 square feet, significantly less than its typical small footprint of about 120,000 square feet.

At the lunch, Mouret, who split with his backers in October and hasn’t announced his next move, said, “I will make a decision in August or September.”