Nordstrom Inc. has promoted Teri Bariquit to chief merchandising officer, a newly created role at the Seattle-based multichannel retailer.
Bariquit, a 33-year veteran of Nordstrom, will serve as a member of the company’s executive team, leading the full-price and off-price merchandising areas. She will report to co-president Pete Nordstrom.
“Teri has been an integral part of the development of this team and she is well positioned to lead this organization into the future as we evolve our relationships with our brand partners and deliver the best products to our customers,” said Pete Nordstrom. “During her 33-year career with Nordstrom, Teri has demonstrated unparalleled understanding of our customer needs and has an excellent grasp on the complexities of our industry.
Nordstrom added that he has been “inspired by Bariquit’s ability to reimagine the future.”
The naming of a chief merchandising officer is critical for Nordstrom at this time. Since the passing of co-president Blake Nordstrom last January, Pete has assumed wider responsibilities in operations and off-price areas, as well as continuing to supervise product, planning and buying. With the change, full price and off-price general merchandise managers will report into the chief merchandising officer. Previously, they reported into Pete.
The change will “enable teams to move with speed and provide an end-to-end view of the customer,” who typically shops both the Nordstrom full-line department stores and the Rack off-price division, a spokeswoman explained. She added that Nordstrom Inc. customers typically shop Rack initially before graduating to Nordstrom full-price department stores.
Also, Nordstrom needs to make some corrections in its merchandising. For several seasons, women’s has been soft, but the company has been making strides to focus more on best-selling items, develop exclusive collaborations with designers and has just launched a program spotlighting many sustainable brands.
At Nordstrom’s full-price department stores last quarter net sales decreased 6.5 percent, in part due to ongoing challenges in women’s. But during a conference call with investors on Wednesday, Pete said, “We made some strides in women’s apparel. There’s not a lot to quantify but we did a good job of identifying key items, brands and styles that the customers were responding to. We always had an aggressive program on identifying and amplifying emerging brands. The cycle on that is shorter than it’s ever been, but we have confidence in our ability to pour on the gas when things are working well. The (buying and planning) teams can’t really use last year as a guide. It’s been a tough go for awhile in women’s, but we have optimism on making improvements, especially in the back half of the year.”
Nordstrom’s best-selling categories last quarter were beauty, after correcting out-of-stock issues in the beginning of the year; designer, across all categories; lingerie; active, and Nordstrom Product Group for in-house brands.
On the other hand, the company saw a slowdown in shoes and men’s had challenges. “The casualization of America impacts men’s business quite a bit,” said Pete, noting that the average price per item is now often lower than what it’s been in the past.
Bariquit spent a significant part of her career at Nordstrom supporting the evolution and improvement of all aspects of the merchandising organization. Most recently, she served as executive vice president, merchandise planning and solutions, a position she held since 2012. In this role, she supported merchandise planning, inventory deployment, solutions and strategic capabilities across all channels.
“Relationships are a key part of our strategy and our unique ability to work with both established and emerging brands is what differentiates Nordstrom in a highly competitive space. Over the years, Teri and I have worked closely together to create strategic partnerships with our valued brands and I’m pleased with the continuity she brings to these relationships,” added Nordstrom.
“I’m excited to work with the entire merchandising organization as we continue to execute on our customer strategy in this rapidly changing retail landscape,” said Bariquit. “We must move with speed and leverage data-driven strategic insights to meet customers’ needs.”