NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Nordstrom is a relative newcomer to the New York retail market and got bigger Thursday.
The Seattle-based retailer opened its first flagship women’s store in Manhattan this morning.
It comes a year after the retailer opened a men’s store across the street.
It comes at a tough time for brick and mortar stores.
Shoppers rushed into the brand new Nordstrom’s women’s store in Midtown with enthusiasm and credit cards in hand, drawn there by plenty of hype and even a DJ, reported CBS2’s Nick Caloway.
The sprawling spread on 57th Street and Broadway covers seven floors, and 320,000 square feet of retail space, with everything from shoes, to handbags, clothes and more shoes.
Web Extra: How Will Nordstrom’s New Flagship Fare In Retail Industry?
“Oh my gosh, it’s amazing,” said shopper Caitlin Biskup. “There’s everything here. It’s affordable and aspirational.”
“The experience. Nordstrom is about customer service. You can’t get this customer experience in other stores,” said shopper Javon Morgan.
“We’ve been shopping shoes, we’ve been shopping purses. We’ve been shopping clothes. Yeah, the more, the better,” said shopper Crissey Miller.
Nordstrom opened it’s first men’s store in New York City across the street last year. The women’s store has been in the works for seven years – but a lot has changed since then.
Retailers are facing more online competition than ever before. So Nordstrom is betting big that it can offer something that shoppers can’t find online.
Nordstrom co-president Pete Nordstrom says that starts with selection and services for customers, like 24 hour pickup for online orders.
“Ultimately, the differentiator for us is if we can serve customers well. I think that’s bringing the digital world and the physical world together and doing it in a seamless way that gives the customer a great experience,” he said.
Even customers who enjoy some online shopping say you can’t get the same experience on a website.
“It’s the energy level. It’s the customer service. It’s to see the product, it’s to touch the product,” said Miller.
“There’s nothing like the experience of touching, feeling what you’re going to buy. There’s tthings we never would have bought if we didn’t see them in person.
“This is the most important retail market in North America and we needed to show up big for it. So we went for it,” Nordstrom said.
The move comes as retail stores across the country are closing, and online retailers like Amazon are surging. So is it a smart bet for Nordstrom to open a huge brick and mortar store in this climate? Dan Geiger, senior reporter for Crain’s New York, says it helps that Nordstrom is promising more than just shopping, but a customer experience that the company hopes will makes will make the new flagship a destination.
“Is that going to energize shoppers? Is the going to get people to come out and want to come to the store and see it? Yeah. Is it going to be enough to make sure the whole thing profitable? We’ll have to see,” Geiger said.
The new women’s store has seven restaurants and bars, along with online pickup and returns. So Nordstom hopes customer will come for the clothes and stay for the cocktails.
Nordstrom says the Midtown store is the largest single-project investment in company history.