Men’s wear continues to be a key focus for Nordstrom.
This new position is intended to “evolve the retailer’s men’s business,” the company said, and will support men’s merchandising, marketing, content development, store environment, private label and the shopping experience as it relates to men’s wear.
Lobban’s first day will be Tuesday and he will be based in New York. He will report to Pete Nordstrom, copresident of Nordstrom, with a dotted line to Paige Thomas, executive vice president and general merchandise manager of men’s wear.
Jeffrey Kalinsky, Nordstrom’s vice president and designer fashion director, introduced Pete Nordstrom to Lobban about a year ago, saying: “Here is a talented person you need to meet.”
For three years, Lobban has been buying manager for Mr Porter — the U.K. equivalent of divisional merchandise manager. He has been with the men’s division of Net-a-porter for seven years, starting as a member of the launch team and serving as senior buyer and buyer over the course of his career.
During his tenure, he was responsible for overseeing the Exclusive Capsule Collection model, securing capsule collections from established brands such as Gucci, Prada and Balenciaga. He was also the architect of the “Made in California” set of capsules — 12 brands including Amiri and Noon Goons, Rick Owens, The Elder Statesman, Stussy and John Elliott, with dedicated editorial content to complement the brands.
He brought brands such as Nike Inc. (including NikeLab), Off-White, Fear of God and Visvim to Mr Porter and also created and launched categories including Performance Sport, which encompasses 40 brands, as well as Japanese designers, now 25 brands.
Lobban started his retail career on the sales floor at London-based Selfridges & Co. Pete Nordstrom said he “brings an impressive skill set and experiences to our men’s leadership team. He will help us further our seamless online and physical store offering to customers while helping us to evolve our merchandise offer to be more relevant for the modern guy.”
Kalinsky said Lobban is “one of the most well-versed people in the world on men’s designer clothing and accessories and his knowledge of the digital space is a critical added bonus.”
Lobban said: “Nordstrom is a business which I’ve long admired from the outside, specifically in regard to their incredibly customer-focused approach to retail and their very wide reach across North America.”
In April, Nordstrom opened a 47,000-square-foot, three-level, stand-alone men’s unit in the heart of Columbus Circle, which is more heavily skewed to designer and contemporary merchandise and expected to be the highest-volume men’s producer in the fleet.
The men’s store is the first of a two-pronged jump by the retailer into the competitive Manhattan market. A 320,000-square-foot women’s store is under construction across the street and is expected to open in the fall of 2019. The men’s store opened ahead of the women’s because its space was retrofitted; the women’s store is being built from the ground up.
All told, this project is the company’s most complicated and costly, with a price tag estimated to exceed $500 million.