retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Got the following email from an MNB reader who wanted to respond to some of the cuts taking place at Nordstrom:

I love Nordstrom but I’m a dinosaur that still likes bricks and mortar shopping. So, I was ecstatic that they were building a brand new store just a few miles from my home. (I usually buy online or shop at the ‘mothership’ when I’m in Seattle).

The new store opened and it’s gorgeous. But it’s small, with limited selection - like a boutique-sized department store if you will. Now, I’m one of those lucky women who straddle the fence between ‘straight’ sizes and plus. Nordstrom, for me, has been a godsend in that I could always find clothes that fit and great sales help. But my hometown store has a plus department so small I almost missed it - tucked in a corner like a red-headed stepchild. And when I did wander in, no one approached me to ask if I needed help. In all fairness, I had a great experience in the cosmetic area.

That said, if you’re going to run a bricks and mortar store, you better figure out what niche you can occupy and better be spot on with service. I haven’t been back in fact. And this is coming from someone who got a Nordstrom credit card in anticipation of their opening. 

In all honesty, I’m wondering why they opened a brand new, from the ground up, store AND outlet in our community when they’re struggling? I get that new stores are where growth is often found, but if you’re going to do it, you better do it right.


In all fairness, I have to imagine they start planning out new stores years in advance of them being opened ... but that doesn't charge the fact that at least in your case, they did not delivery on their essential value proposition. It is probably a pretty good bet that even if they often do better, you're not the only one who was let down.



Regarding Haggen's sale of its core stores back to Albertsons, and how it seems like all the decisions made by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to assure healthy competition have gone for naught, MNB reader Bruce Wesbury wrote:

A perfect example of why government needs to stay out of the way. They have a habit of screwing things up.

I think it is a perfect example of how government can screw things up if its definitions are not up to date and it is not making decisions consistent with modern, common-sense reality.

But I'd disagree with any suggestion that the government has no business making sure that customers are protected. It doesn't do a very good job of it all the time, but that doesn't mean we don't need it.




Finally, responding to yesterday's stories about Instacart's problems,and how I think this is a shaky house of cards, MNB user Joe Axford wrote:

I've been following this story, KC, and agree with you 100% ... I can't believe WF is investing so heavily in them.
KC's View: