Karen McKibbin, a 32-year veteran of Nordstrom Inc. and a key player in the retailer’s expansion into Canada, will retire from the company in March.
For the past year, McKibbin has served as president of Nordstrom Rack, but before that she was president of Nordstrom Canada and responsible for opening the first five of Nordstrom’s six full-line department stores in the country. Canada is Nordstrom’s only international expansion.
Geevy Thomas, chief innovation officer, will succeed McKibbin as president of Nordstrom Rack. Thomas ran the Rack from 2010 to 2017 during a period of rapid growth for the off-price operation. Geevy joined Nordstrom in 1983.
“Over the last year, Geevy and the innovation team have established an approach to leveraging our local assets of people, product and place — and evolve our physical stores. With this foundation in place we will begin integrating the team, learnings and processes across various aspects of our business,” said Blake Nordstrom, copresident. “We’re fortunate to be able to leverage Geevy’s knowledge of our Nordstrom Rack business, which continues to be one of our most productive channels, a driver of innovation and our biggest source of new customers to Nordstrom. Geevy will continue to support innovation as we make that transition.”
The Rack has been stepping up on innovation and adding services at certain locations to lift sales, which lately haven’t been as strong as in past years. Nordstrom Rack, which consists of 232 Nordstrom Rack stores as well as Nordstromrack.com/HauteLook, reported that comparable-store sales were only up 0.8 percent in the third quarter of 2017, while net sales gained 5.5 percent.
Among the services, certain Rack stores offer three methods of checkout; “drop and shop” stations for fast returns of items bought at nordstromrack.com and HauteLook; gender-neutral fitting rooms with lit mirrors, and “grab and go” fixtures within the beauty department for travel-size items like body cream and shampoo.
New technology includes “scan and shop” so shoppers can scan price tags with their cell phones and see if an item is available online in different colors and styles. There’s also the “snap and shop” app, so with one’s cell phone, you snap a photo of something in a window or worn by someone and up on the screen pop similar products sold at nordstromrack.com.
Rack offers up to 70 percent off regular prices on women’s, men’s, accessories, footwear and beauty.
“During her long tenure, Karen brought great depth of experience to her various roles,” said Nordstrom. “Her leadership will be missed across the company.”
McKibbin began her Nordstrom career in 1985 as a stockperson and rose to salesperson, department manager, buyer, store manager and a vice president and regional manager serving at various times in the Los Angeles, Northern California, Hawaii and Boston markets.