By  on October 4, 2006

Nordstrom will unveil its most comprehensive collection of designer apparel and accessories on Friday in a 200,000-square-foot store at Westfield Topanga shopping center in suburban Canoga Park, Calif.

The unit features designer shop-in-shops for Gucci and Chanel, both ready-to-wear and accessories, as well as Dolce & Gabbana, Valentino and a Dior handbag store.

"When you see the Topanga store, you say, ‘This isn't just a Seattle company,'" said Pete Nordstrom, head of merchandising for the retailer and great-grandson of founder John W. Nordstrom. "We really went for it. This is what we're capable of."

Nordstrom relocated from a 155,000-square-foot space in the shopping center, as part of a $330 million renovation and expansion of the mall by its owner, the Westfield Group. The remaining 400,000 square feet of new retail space, featuring luxury stores such as Burberry and Furla, also will open on Friday. A Neiman Marcus store that has taken the old Nordstrom space is to open in 2008.

"Our customer has really had a desire for the best the market has to offer," Nordstrom said. "We've had designer merchandise for [decades], but in the last five years, we've tried to become much more purposeful about our designer offerings, rather than let it happen it haphazardly ... with a great shoe offering in one store and a great accessory offering in another. A couple of years ago, we started being really purposeful."

Central to the strategy is positioning one store in every major market to carry a full selection of designer merchandise: apparel, accessories and shoes.

"It doesn't make sense that we would have a full designer offering in all stores ... It might even be difficult to sell," Nordstrom said. "If we did it, we'd probably dilute it. To do it well, you have to have synergy. It obviously has to be in response to the customer."

Nordstrom, based in Seattle, operates 99 full-price stores. About one-quarter of the units carry the full designer selection, including locations in San Diego's Fashion Valley mall, downtown Seattle and on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.

The Topanga unit, located in the San Fernando Valley, 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles, was tapped for the designer treatment because of its robust sales.

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