Nordstrom is a clothing store specializing in women’s and men’s clothing, women’s and men’s footwear, cosmetics, jewelry and small leather goods, including handbags. Nordstrom also offers interior items such as bedding, carpets and furniture.
The company was founded by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin in 1901 at the corner of Western Avenue (now 3rd Avenue) and Pike Street in Seattle, Washington as “Wallin & Nordstrom”. In 1928, Wallin and Nordstrom co-founded a holding company that eventually went public as The Bon Marché Corporation. The company name was changed to “Nordstrom” in 1969 after John W. Nordstrom retired from active management of the company.
The story of this successful business began with Swedish immigrant Aun Jonsson who came to North America with the Ullström family when he was a young boy. He worked in a different store for a while, but then heard about the opportunities on the West Coast, so he went there with his friend Erik Erikson in 1888 during the Klondike gold rush. They opened their first store, later known as “Seattle”, which was located near the Pike Street Market, where they sold goods that were mostly imported from Klondike. In 1897, Aun Jonsson and Erik Erikson entered a partnership with Sweden-born John W. Nordstrom and Carl Wallin under the new name “Wallin & Nordstrom” which was located on First Avenue between Pike Street and Pine Street.
The first Seattle store only survived until 1901, when it burned to the ground during the Great Seattle Fire after it was weakened by the damage caused by a fire from an adjacent grocery warehouse that burst into flames. This prompted them to relocate their place of business across Second Avenue to West Avenue (now Third Avenue) near Olive Way, where they opened another store called “Seattle”.
They moved back two years later when they found themselves a bigger one on University Street near Denny Way. In 1905, Wallin decided to retire and sold his business shares to Aun Jonsson and John W. Nordstrom – who was then still a partner at Erikson’s shoe store in Seattle (which was called “Carl P. Erickson”). They named their new store “Nordstrom” after its founder, even though he was not very involved with it at the time, as he preferred to work as a carpenter.
The company remained family-owned until 1963, when it first went public with an initial offering of 3,252,000 shares traded over the counter or over the phone between 1962 and 1964; in two years, most transactions were made by mail order. In 1972, the shares began to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).
In 1976, the company’s management decided that the logo would represent the shoe’s image as shoes are one of the company’s most important products, and Nordstrom is known to sell good quality footwear that can last for years. They collaborated with Mary Quasarano of Hal Riney & Partners, who came up with the now famous red box design with a yellow stripe – symbolizing the laces – on the outside of each leg. The packaging won awards: in 1978 it was recognized by AdWeek magazine as the best national advertising campaign and also appeared in the same year’s article “Best Commercials”. It was phased out in 2011 as part of the company’s 100th anniversary celebration – largely to celebrate the centenary since John W. Nordstrom sold his business and retired.
Nordstrom offers many different types of products: clothing for women, men and children; footwear and accessories for all ages (they sell everything from casual to fashionable shoes); cosmetics such as perfumes, skin care products such as moisturizing or cleansing creams, makeup palettes and so on; personal care products such as hair appliances or shaving utensils (all you need); household items such as bath towels and bedding sets, personal care furniture and accessories, personal care products such as hair cosmetics and shaving utensils (all you need).
The biggest competition of the Nordstrom brand are companies such as Macy’s, Dillard’s and JC Penney (on the department store market), or Amazon.com in e-commerce; however, Nordstrom is known to outperform both of these competitors in terms of customer service.
At the end of 2014, Nordstrom had 312 stores in 40 different states – employing over 76,000 people worldwide. The company also runs several websites with local content that are tailored to specific markets but do not sell their products on other online platforms such as eBay or Shopstyle; instead, it only uses them for advertising purposes so that consumers can find out what discounts they have at different times of the year when purchasing certain products.
The future of the Nordstrom brand is in the right place: it has been around for over 100 years and is still going strong. Their next step will be entering the Chinese market (through investments) and their own e-commerce, which they will create especially for this region, because luxury goods are very popular there; however, nothing has been confirmed yet.