retail news in context, analysis with attitude

Bloomberg has a story about the dramatic changes affecting the Manhattan retail landscape, as "gone are the gargantuan Lord & Taylor, the Henri Bendel flagship and the Saks Fifth Avenue women’s store downtown." But at the same time, Nordstrom is coming to town as it inaugurates its much-hyped mega-store in a skyscraper overlooking Central Park … the biggest new retail space the city has seen in over half a century."

The piece surveys many of the changes that have affected the city's retail scene, and notes that "for Nordstrom, Manhattan represents a 'long-term quest' that’s been in the works for more than 25 years, said Jamie Nordstrom. He said he scoped out space on the island with his father as far back as the mid-90s. The 118-year-old company landed on a plot near Columbus Circle and owns the building, a sign that it expects to stay for some time. 'We’re not looking to do business in New York over the next four quarters,' he said. 'We’re looking to do business there for the next 50 to 100 years.'."

You can read the Bloomberg story here.

At the same time, Bloomberg has another piece pointing out that the "store’s most noteworthy new feature is headset-enabled salespeople who will deliver food to customers throughout the 32,000-square-foot, seven-floor space, the biggest-ever store in the Seattle-based retailer’s 118-year history.

"Hungry shoppers losing focus while trying on an Isabel Marant dress (floor 3) can snack on pear, kale, and blue cheese salad. Customers wavering over a Brunello Cucinelli Alpaca blend coat (floor 4)  can chew on it over a double-beef cheeseburger or stop at the Shoe Bar for a martini. Cocktails, wine, and coffee can also be ordered on floors with a liquor license (specifically, floors numbered 5, 3, and 2, plus lower level 1 and, of course, the restaurants at lower level 2)."

The story says that "chefs overseeing several of the projects - James Beard winner Tom Douglas and Ethan Stowell - are Seattle icons. And the food prices are shockingly reasonable, given the Midtown West address. At Bistro Verde, where the deliveries originate, those chicken tacos cost $7 for two, and they’re not small. A big bowl of spaghetti and meatballs comes to $17.50, and the BV Burger with white cheddar and peppercorn aioli and sea salt fries costs $16.50. 'The Nordstrom family aren’t looking at these restaurants as profit centers,' says chef Stowell, who oversees the store’s major restaurant, Wolf. 'They see them as amenities, to draw customers in'."

You can read this story here.

Also, to see some pictures of the store, see this Seattle Times piece.
KC's View:
As far as I'm concerned, food from Douglas and Stowell is plenty to get me in the door … they're two of my favorites. I wonder if they'd deliver to the Nordstrom men's store across the street?