A rendering of Nordstrom's women's flagship on 57th Street.

For its Manhattan flagship, Nordstrom will be going big on food, service, technology and women’s fashion and accessories, WWD has learned.

Three of the flagship’s seven floors will be devoted to women’s apparel, a fourth level will be dedicated to designer fashion, and designer accessories and shoes will be located separately.

There will be two beauty floors, and six food and beverage operations, including four full-service restaurants and two bar/lounges.

And there will be three departments for shoes, two for women and one for kids. Footwear is the category that Nordstrom is famous for in terms of depth of product, sizes and lifestyles. The company was founded as a shoe store in Seattle in 1901.

Nordstrom now expects its Manhattan flagship, the retailer’s first full-line women’s store in New York City, to open in late October.

The 320,000-square-foot, seven-level Nordstrom women’s flagship is located at 225 West 57th Street at the base of Central Park Tower which, with 95 floors, is the tallest luxury residential building in the world and the most expensive condo project in New York, listed at $4 billion by The Real Deal. The flagship is being constructed with two levels below ground and five above ground. The retail space varies from floor to floor.

“Construction on our flagship is on track for an October opening,” Pete Nordstrom, co-president of Nordstrom, told WWD. “The New York City DMA (designated market area) represents our largest online market and we’re excited to provide new and existing customers with our complete full-line shopping experience.

Nordstrom likes the trends he sees, with women visiting the 47,000-square-foot Nordstrom men’s store, opened in April 2018 on 57th Street and the west side of Broadway, just across the street from the women’s store. “We’re encouraged by women customers in New York who are already shopping with us on their terms and taking advantage of in-store alterations or having their online purchases shipped to the men’s store.”

Nordstrom disclosed other details of the upcoming flagship, citing “a purposeful and curated breadth of offering across all price points including clothing, shoes, accessories, beauty, children and home, and a robust selection of exclusive and limited-distribution and emerging brands and styles.”

There will be five entrances on 57th and 58th Streets and Broadway, soaring 19-foot ceilings and an open floor plan for merchandising flexibility and the ability to grow best-selling categories and shrink the space on weaker ones, depending on customer response. The flexible format is consistent with other full-line store openings of the last few years.

Officials said there will be many services connecting the physical and digital. “We’ll leverage digital capabilities to support the customer shopping experience. We’ll be completely connected, powered by industry-leading technology and a digital infrastructure,” one official said.

The store also has a dramatic “waveforms” glass facade, enabling those outside to get a glimpse of the action inside, and vice versa. Natural light will pour onto the selling floors. The women’s flagship is designed by James Carpenter Design Associates.

The New York City flagship represents the Seattle-based retailer’s “biggest and best statement” and the largest single-project investment ever. Two years ago, WWD listed the investment at north of $500 million but the price tag could have gone up since. Nordstrom does not disclose the cost of its stores.

Nordstrom in Manhattan will be challenged to move shoppers up and down its seven levels. Most of the retailer’s stores are two levels. But the distinct vertical character of the Manhattan flagship “allows us to segment our business and create zones that are complementary of one another,” said the Nordstrom official.

Nordstrom will also be challenged by Bergdorf Goodman, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, which are all bracing for its arrival and pumping up their own services and offerings in advance. There will also be competition from Neiman Marcus, which opens its first New York City store in Hudson Yards on March 15.

A rendering of Nordstrom’s men’s and women’s stores in Manhattan. 

Meanwhile, Nordstrom’s men’s store has been getting mixed reviews from industry observers, though the company issued its own progress report to WWD on the men’s experience so far. Among the lessons learned:

• The West Side customer has been “very supportive of our business and we are building a strong localized customer base.”

• Customers are responding to the “edited curation of merchandise. They are shopping brands across all categories and on both ends of our price spectrum.”

• The store has the biggest men’s designer business in the company.

• Customers are responding to experiences offered, like the Murdock London pop-up barbers. There will be permanent, full-time barbers beginning in March.

• Customers are responding to other services like express returns, same-day delivery, and 24/7 buy online and pick up in store. Customers, said the official, are shopping in the middle of the night online and then picking up their orders the next day when the store opens.

Nordstrom has noticed that women use the men’s store as “a service hub,” which is reminiscent of the three recently opened Nordstrom Local units operating in California. Nordstrom Local provides a litany of services ranging from BOPIS (buy online, pick up in store) to alterations, reserve online and try on in the store, gift wrapping, curbside pickup and dry cleaning.

“Since August, the men’s store noticed a spike in women shoppers when we launched ship to store, where customers can have their order shipped to the store to pick up at their convenience,” the official said. “Each month, women make up approximately 50 percent of shoppers. They are also taking advantage of on-site alterations and express returns.”

Like the women’s store, the men’s unit is designed with flexibility to change the merchandising based on what resonates with shoppers and what doesn’t. Nordstrom did not provide any statistics on the performance of the men’s store.

In a bid to strengthen ties to the community, Nordstrom is donating $1 million a year over a five-year period to the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Operation Warm, Shoes That Fit, Whitney Emerging Artist Exhibition, NYC Pride, God’s Love We Deliver, and Central Park Playground Partners, as well as other organizations.

 

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