BURLINGTON, Mass. — Amid an aggressive expansion in metro Boston, Nordstrom was the host of a charity gala Wednesday at its Burlington Mall store, which opens today.

This story first appeared in the March 28, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Of all the things we do, these [events] are the most fun,” said Pete Nordstrom, executive vice president and president of merchandising, who worked the shoe department crowd with brothers Blake, who is corporate president, and Erik, president of full-line stores.

The Burlington store, about 20 miles west of Boston, is one of eight Nordstrom openings this year. That’s among the Seattle-based retailer’s busiest expansion years ever, Pete Nordstrom said.

He and Erik were to review a potential store location at the Danbury Fair Mall in Danbury, Conn., on Thursday and return to Burlington for the opening this morning.

The Nordstrom store that launched in the fall in the Natick Collection in Natick, Mass., continues to run ahead of plan, he said. The company is slated to have four stores in the metro Boston market by 2010.

Rick Sokolov, president of Simon Property Group, which owns Burlington Mall, circulated throughout the crowd with a pleased look. Nordstrom will anchor new expansion wings in three of Simon’s Boston-area malls. The next opening will be in the Northshore Mall in Peabody, Mass., in 2009.

“We know there is a lot on the line,” Pete Nordstrom said. “We have a lot of momentum right now because of anticipation and the fact that we’re new. We know to sustain earnings over time we have to be focused on executing.”

In terms of positioning within the market, Natick will have the most upscale assortment, followed by Burlington. The Burlington store has extensive contemporary offerings, including specialty labels like M Missoni and Robert Rodriguez. It’s a market segment that has been underrepresented at Burlington Mall.

The event, benefiting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the Junior League of Boston and the Boston and Middlesex Chapters of The Links Inc., raised $160,000.