Like many of its peers, the venerable Nordstrom department store chain is struggling to keep pace with customer demand for new clothing due to supply issues.
This will be an even bigger challenge before its anniversary sale takes off, a tradition since the 1960s. Last year, customers stayed away because there was no reason to buy dressy clothes. during a pandemic.
But Nordstrom sees this year’s event as an opportunity for buyers to reinvent themselves by leaving their homes. Amid product delays, the retailer said it has developed a backorder feature on its website for customers who want to take advantage of the sale but find the item not in stock.
Jamie Nordstrom, president of Nordstrom stores and great-grandson of company founder John W. Nordstrom, recently spoke to The Associated Press at his Manhattan store to share his thoughts on changing consumer habits. buyers, shipping delays, and reasons Seattle-based Nordstrom plans to pack masks soon. The interview has been edited for clarity and length.
Q. What types of delays in shipping merchandise do you see?
A. From a few days to a month. And you don’t always know exactly what is causing it. Is this the port in Asia? Is the port of Long Beach where ships anchored there cannot be disembarked. We are retailers. We focus on customer service. We have a great team focused on the inbound supply chain. And whether it’s a few days or a few weeks, we’re ready to play with the punches on it.
Q. Are there any remaining security measures related to COVID-19?
A. In most of the cities and markets where we operate, we are able to completely revamp our beauty services and spas. It was probably one of the last things we were able to unlock. But we want customers to know – and it has been for quite a while now – that when they come to the Nordstrom store, they are taking full advantage. This is not a watered-down COVID version of Nordstrom.
Q. What does customer traffic look like?
A. It was very different depending on the region. It started in the south – South Florida, Texas – in the last few months. It was the states that dropped the restrictions first, where trafficking started to grow. And then as you moved north and west as the states let go of the restrictions, we saw that traffic come back pretty quickly. And so we are encouraged by the path we are taking and the rate at which customers are returning.
Q. What makes the anniversary sale even more important this year?
A. More than anything, it’s a wardrobe refresh. People have discovered comfort. They don’t want to sacrifice style. There’s a huge demand for people to really dig into their closets and somehow reinvent their looks over the next couple of seasons.
Q. What pandemic trends will persist and how are you responding?
A. So casual, athleisure, denim. We are working hard to get what the new costume is. It might not be the same costume it was. It’s a sports coat and it’s a pair of jeans. It’s an interesting time to try to respond to the very rapidly changing customer needs.
Q. What is not coming back?
A. Maybe masks. We’ve been selling a lot of masks for the past year and a half. We’re not selling a lot at the moment, which is a good thing. And so I think we might just put those masks away, and I hope we never have to take them out again.