Coordinates: 47°36′45″N 122°20′11″W / 47.61237°N 122.3365°W / 47.61237; -122.3365

Nordstrom, Inc.
Type Public
Traded as NYSEJWN
Industry Retail
Founded 1901
Founder(s) John W. Nordstrom
Carl F. Wallin
Headquarters Seattle, Washington, USA
Number of locations Nordstrom: 116
Nordstrom Rack: 95
Jeffrey: 2
Nordstrom Last Chance:1 (July 2011)[1]
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, cafe, and House Ware.
Revenue increase US$ 8.57 Billion (FY 2009)[2]
Operating income increase US$ 773 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Net income increase US$ 401 Million (FY 2009)[2]
Total assets increase US$ 5.66 Billion (FY 2009)[3]
Total equity increase US$ 1.21 Billion (FY 2009)[3]
Employees 52,000 (2009)[4]
Subsidiaries HauteLook

Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSEJWN) is an upscale department store chain in the United States, founded by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin. Initially a shoe retailer, the company today also sells clothing, accessories, handbags, jewelry, cosmetics, fragrances, and in some locations, home furnishings. The corporate headquarters and the flagship store are located in Downtown Seattle, Washington.

Nordstrom's biggest competitors are Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Von Maur, Macy's, Neiman Marcus, & Saks Fifth Avenue.




Nordstrom's headquarters and flagship store (in former Frederick & Nelson flagship) in downtown Seattle.

In 1887, at the age of 16, like many other Swedes in the late 19th century, John W. Nordstrom emigrated to the United States in search of opportunity. He was born in the village of Ale, close to Luleå in Northern Sweden. His name at birth was "Johan Nordström" which he later anglicized to John Nordstrom. After landing in New York, he first worked in Michigan. After working a series of menial jobs as he moved across the country, he saved enough money to purchase a 20-acre (81,000 m2) potato farm in Arlington, Washington, close to Seattle. In 1897, he joined the Klondike Gold Rush in Canada's Yukon Territory, leaving Seattle with countless others. After two years of prospecting and doing whatever it took to continue, he finally struck gold, but sold his disputed claim for $13,000.[5] Returning to Seattle with his new found wealth, he married Hilda Carlson and looked for a business venture, finally settling on a shoe store that opened in 1901, called Wallin & Nordstrom. Carl F. Wallin, the co-founder of the store, was the owner of the adjacent shoe repair shop. John and Hilda had five children, three of whom followed him into the family business, Everett W.(1903), Elmer J.(1904) and Lloyd N. Nordstrom. By the time Wallin & Nordstrom opened their second store in Seattle in 1923, Elmer who recently graduated from the University of Washington had already had enough hands-on experience to be put in charge of its opening.

In 1928, John W. Nordstrom retired and sold his shares to two of his sons, Everett and Elmer. In 1929, Wallin also retired and sold his shares to them. The 1930 grand opening of the remodeled Second Avenue store marked the change of name to Nordstrom. Lloyd Nordstrom subsequently joined the company in 1933, and the three brothers ran the business together for almost forty years.

By 1958, Nordstrom had expanded to eight stores in two states but still only sold shoes. Their expansion was based on customer service, deep product offerings and full size ranges. Apparel came with its purchase of Best Apparel of Seattle in 1963. The company's name was changed to Nordstrom Best in 1969.

By 1968, the second generation debated selling the company as Everett neared retirement. Instead, they were convinced by the third generation Nordstroms—Bruce A. (Everett's son), James F. and John N. (Elmer's two sons), together with John A. (Jack) MacMillan (married to Lloyd's daughter) -- to take the company public instead, and allow the cousins to take over the business. In 1971, the company was taken public on NASDAQ under the ticker NOBE (Nordstrom Best). In 1973, "Best" was dropped from the company's name, and the store assumed its current name of Nordstrom.[1] It was moved to the New York Stock Exchange in 1999 under the ticker symbol JWN after John W. Nordstrom, its founder.

The 1975-1991 Logo

Beginning in 1995, the fourth generation of brothers and cousins served as co-presidents for a time. After John Whitacre served as the first non-Nordstrom CEO in 1997,[2], in 2001 the family reasserted its control, with the sons of Bruce A. (Blake, Erik and Peter) assuming senior roles in the company which they continue to hold.[3]


The exterior of a typical Nordstrom department store at The Florida Mall located in Orlando, Florida.

Nordstrom has grown from a regional department store to a national chain by opening new stores rather than by acquisition of other retailers.

By 1975, Nordstrom expanded into Alaska (the only time by acquisition) by purchasing Northern Commercial Company and opened its first Nordstrom Rack clearance store in Seattle. A strong northwest regional retailer with sales already approaching $250 million (making it the third-largest specialty retailer in the U.S.), it opened its first Southern California store at Costa Mesa in 1978. By the early 1990s, it had opened 26 stores plus Racks in California. Subsequent expansion relied on creating a strongly decentralized regional structure, beginning with the Northeast (Tyson's Corner, 1988), Midwest (Oak Brook Mall, 1991), Southeast (Atlanta, 1998), and Southwest (Dallas, 1996) to which the California stores were added. In a new region, the initial store was used as a base for training and recruitment for subsequent expansion, and was usually backed by its own distribution center. From 1978 to 1995, Nordstrom opened a total of 46 full-line department stores.[6]

PLACE TWO: In 1976, Nordstrom opened a series of stores called Place Two to sell a more limited selection of apparel in smaller markets. By 1983, there were ten Place Two stores, but the cost of upgrading the smaller stores, especially from a systems perspective, outweighed the benefit, and the division was discontinued.[7]

FLAGSHIP: In 1998, Nordstrom replaced its downtown Seattle store with a new flagship location in the former Frederick & Nelson building across the street. At 383,000 square feet (35,600 m2), the downtown Seattle location is the chain's largest store. By contrast, the smallest Nordstrom store (as of September 2008) opened in 1980 in Salem, Oregon and has a total area of just under 72,000 square feet (6,700 m2).

DIRECT: The company also expanded into direct sales in 1993, beginning with a catalog division[8] led by John N.'s son Dan that was followed by an e-commerce business.'s fulfillment and contact center is located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Currently, it has distribution centers in Ontario, California; Portland, Oregon; Dubuque, Iowa; Upper Marlboro, Maryland; and Gainesville, Florida.


Nordstrom Rack, the company's off-price clearance store.

As the stores expanded in size, restaurants were added beginning in 1979, reaching their peak with the then-largest (and most expensive) Westfield San Francisco Centre California flagship store that opened in 1989, that included no fewer than four restaurants as well as an English pub.[9] Recently, the "Espresso Bar" from older stores has been discontinued and re-introduced as the "eBar" with offering a variety of quick-fix snacks, and an expanded "hotbar" drink list. Smaller stores (mostly consisting of two-stories) now have an "in-House Cafe," which offers the same menu but with seating. Nordstrom has also revised its four restaurants (found in select larger stores), the casual "Classic Cafe" and "Marketplace Cafe," the "Cafe Bistro" specializing in brick oven entrees and the "Nordstrom Grill" offering food and alcoholic beverages.

Nordstrom recently sold (2007) their stand-alone boutique chain Façonnable. Nordstrom also operates a retail bank based in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In February 2011, Nordstrom announced the acquisition of HauteLook, an LA-based online retailer that offers flash sales on designer goods. The deal includes Nordstrom paying $180 million in stock and a three-year "earn-out" payment based on HauteLook's financial performance.[10]

On May 26, 2011, Nordstrom announced that they will be closing the downtown Indianapolis, Indiana Circle Center Mall location due to declining business at Downtown site. The remaining location on the north side of the city at the Fashion Mall at Keystone as well as the future Nordstrom Rack store in the Rivers Edge Shopping Center, also on the north side, will remain as the only two locations in the state. Erik Nordstrom, president of stores at Nordstrom stated "We've enjoyed serving our customers in downtown Indianapolis, but unfortunately our business has declined over the long term for some time and despite our efforts to turn things around we don't see the outlook significantly changing."[11]

Employee handbook

For many years, new employees were given a copy of the famous Nordstrom's Employee Handbook – a single 5-by-8-inch (130 × 200 mm) gray card containing 75 words:[12]

Welcome to Nordstrom

We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

However, new hire orientations now provide this card along with a full handbook of other more specific rules and legal regulations, as the way Nordstrom operates has changed.


Nordstrom was listed at No. 72 in Fortune magazine's 100 Best Companies to Work For 2009.[13] (Nordstrom is a Hall of Fame member of Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies to Work For" list.[14]) Nordstrom was No. 36 on the same list in 2008, No. 24 in 2007, No. 46 in 2006 and No. 88 in 2005.[15] In 2010, it ranked number 53.

Nordstrom was ranked No. 286 (previously 293) on the Fortune 500 for 2007.[16]

See also


  1. ^ Nordstrom to Report Second Quarter 2011 Financial Results
  2. ^ a b c Nordstrom (JWN) annual SEC income statement filing via Wikinvest
  3. ^ a b Nordstrom (JWN) annual SEC balance sheet filing via Wikinvest
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ The Nordstrom Way (1996), 133
  7. ^ Dow Jones News Services. "Nordstrom-Place Two -2-: To Close 3 Stores, Convert 1." 26 April 1994.
  8. ^ The Nordstrom Way, 213
  9. ^ Nordstrom Way, 145, 133
  10. ^ Nordstrom to Acquire Online Retailer HauteLook, New York Times Dealbook, February 17, 2011.
  11. ^
  12. ^,-Not-a-Department.cfm
  13. ^ 100 Best Companies to Work For 2009,, Last accessed January 22, 2009
  14. ^ Nordstrom Careers, Nordstrom. Last accessed March 2, 2007.
  15. ^ 100 Best Companies to Work For 2006,, Last accessed February 15, 2007.
  16. ^ Fortune 500 2007,, Last accessed July 24, 2007.

External links

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