Nordstrom announced the launch of a retail concept and neighborhood hub where customers can shop and access services in a central location — and without merchandise typically found in the retailer's stores. Nordstrom Local, which will launch in West Hollywood, Calif. on Oct. 3., will have a 3,000 sq. ft. footprint, which is much smaller than an average 140,000 sq. ft. Nordstrom store. The service-focused concept store will have no apparel to buy on site, but personal stylists on hand will be able to fetch items from nearby stores or order them online. Shoppers will also be able to get a manicure; order wine, beer, coffee or juice from an in-store bar; and those who place orders on Nordstrom.com by 2 p.m. can pick them up there that day. They will also be able to return items at the store that they bought online or from other Nordstrom locations. Tailors will be available for alterations or to help members of Trunk Club, an online clothing service that Nordstrom acquired in 2014, select fabrics for custom garments.
Total Retail's Take: Nordstrom, which has a history of experimenting with new store concepts, is taking a risk with the launch of a merchandise-less store. Nordstrom Local's new concept comes as retailers are wrestling with how to best to use their physical spaces and attract customers who are migrating to the web. For department store chains like Macy’s, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Sears, one answer has been to shrink their footprint by closing stores or experimenting with smaller ones. Other retailers have experimented with inventory-free stores, including Bonobos, the men’s fashion brand. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. That's the approach Nordstrom is taking as it looks to evolve its use of brick-and-mortar retail.