Nancy Mair has been named senior vice president of Rack Merchandising; Kelley Wotton-Gantner has been appointed vice president and divisional merchandise manager, and Stacy Lippa has joined Rack as vice president of the supply chain. The company said the positions are new and don’t reflect a management reorganization.
Nordstrom Rack, which generated $4.76 billion in sales last year, has been focusing on expanding offerings of its most coveted brands, sourcing from new vendors, and creating a more efficient supply chain network to provide a better selection for customers. Last year, executives acknowledged fashion misses and pricing mistakes, but in its fourth-quarter, year-end financial report, cited improvement in Rack’s performance. Nordstrom Inc., including Nordstrom and Rack, generated $14.7 billion in sales last year.
Mair will help develop and execute the Rack merchandise strategy for both Nordstrom Rack stores and its website. Most recently, she had her own consulting company working with private equity, retailers and wholesalers, focused specifically on the offprice business. She previously worked at Burlington Stores for 26 years, where she began as an intern and ultimately served as senior vice president and general merchandise manager of multiple merchandising areas. She’s also an adjunct professor at Fashion Institute of Technology in the Fashion Business Department.
Wotton-Gantner joined Nordstrom in September 2020 as senior director, merchandising with a focus on the price-conscious consumer. In her new role, she will be leading a broader scope of buying for Nordstrom Rack. Prior to Nordstrom, Kelley held leadership roles at a variety of off-price retailers, including Macy’s Backstage, Bealls Inc., TJX Companies and Bob’s Stores.
Lippa will work to drive store growth and support Rack supply chain needs. Most recently, Lippa led the distribution and fulfillment networks at Five Below. Before that, she spent 17 years at Target in various roles across imports, transportation, replenishment, distribution and food supply chains. She is a member of the Council on Competitiveness.
“Nancy, Kelley and Stacy each bring extensive off-price retail experience to important areas of our Rack business,” said Geevy Thomas, president, Nordstrom Rack. “Their collective expertise in driving off-price growth and transformation will help us drive continued improvement, achieve our goals and deliver the best possible experience for our customers from product selection through delivery.”
A Nordstrom spokeswoman said that while the Seattle-based retailer typically fills positions from within its own ranks, two of the three appointments disclosed Tuesday are external hires to create a more rounded out team with some new perspectives.
In the fourth quarter, net sales for Nordstrom Rack decreased 5 percent versus the fourth quarter of fiscal 2019, but there was a sequential improvement of 320 basis points over the third quarter of 2021.
Last quarter, the company undertook a thorough analysis of Rack and came up with a plan including trying to retrieve more merchandise from top brands, increasing the delivery flow, increasing “pack and hold” merchandise, strengthening brand awareness. The new plan is in its early stages, according to Erik Nordstrom, chief executive officer of Nordstrom Inc.
Nordstrom did show progress in its strategic initiatives, reporting fourth-quarter earnings of $200 million, compared to $33 million in the year-ago period.
Sales for the quarter ended Jan. 29, 2022, rose 23 percent to $4.38 billion versus $3.55 billion in the same period in fiscal 2020, and decreased 1 percent versus the same period in fiscal 2019.
The company went into the black for all of fiscal 2022, with a profit of $178 million versus a loss of $690 million in 2020, which was heavily impacted by the pandemic. Net earnings for the latest fiscal year included an $88 million debt refinancing charge.
“Our team continues to work with urgency to accelerate our progress and invest in our capabilities to better serve customers and profitably grow sales,” Nordstrom said on March 1 when the financial report was released. “Our primary focus is on three areas: improving Nordstrom Rack performance, increasing profitability and optimizing our supply chain and inventory flow.”