World Wrap

Nord­strom, Inc. is a lead­ing fash­ion spe­cialty re­tailer based in the US. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seat­tle, to­day Nord­strom op­er­ates 354 stores in 40 states, in­clud­ing 122 full-line stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico; 221 Nordst

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What makes Nord­strom the favourite fash­ion re­tailer of the US

The US mar­ket has seen a slew of shop clo­sures and many re­tail­ers are find­ing it difficult to keep their cus­tomer base

The US mar­ket has seen a slew of shop clo­sures and many re­tail­ers are find­ing it difficult to keep their cus­tomer base in­ter­ested. Some iconic names like Amer­i­can Ap­parel, The Limited, Aber­crom­bie & Fitch, Wet Seal, Gym­boree have ei­ther closed down or are on the verge of bank­ruptcy. Yet, there are a few other re­tail­ers/ brands that con­tinue to grow and re­main pre­ferred shop­ping des­ti­na­tions for con­sumers. A re­cent study by Mar­ket Force In­for­ma­tion (Mar­ket Force) cov­er­ing 10,000 con­sumers, found that Nord­strom con­tin­ues to rank as the nation’s favourite fash­ion re­tailer fifth year in a row on pa­ram­e­ters of value, at­mos­phere and ease of find­ing items. The re­tailer has built an en­vi­able rep­u­ta­tion of hav­ing an in­com­pa­ra­ble cus­tomer ser­vice and has hence, earned a loyal fan base.

Even in a very chal­leng­ing re­tail en­vi­ron­ment, the re­tailer achieved a record sale of US $ 14.5 bil­lion in 2016 be­cause of the sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment the com­pany was able to achieve along the sup­ply chain to en­hance value and keep its cus­tomers happy, the core of be­ing a favourite fash­ion re­tailer. Ac­cord­ing to re­tail an­a­lyst, Nord­strom has man­aged to ac­crue (and main­tain) a loyal fan base for a num­ber of rea­sons – serv­ing up street style­wor­thy, bud­get-friendly fash­ion, cham­pi­oning beloved In­die Brands’, fa­mous cus­tomer ser­vice, and for its epic an­niver­sary sale. The Nord­strom An­niver­sary Sale orig­i­nated in the 1960s and is a one-of-a-kind sale – ev­ery July, the com­pany brings in new styles from highly sought-af­ter brands for men, women and kids.

The re­tailer is com­mit­ted to hav­ing a unique breadth of of­fer­ing from ac­ces­si­ble to lux­ury price points and the An­niver­sary Sale fol­lows suit. It’s the ul­ti­mate sale with some­thing for ev­ery­one in ev­ery cat­e­gory: cloth­ing, shoes, hand­bags, ac­ces­sories, home and beauty. It’s a sale the whole nation waits for!

Brands new to An­niver­sary Sale this year in­cluded Good Amer­i­can, Good Man Brand, Cinq a Sept,

ATM An­thony Thomas Melillo and J. Crew, along with re­turn­ing cus­tomer favourites like FRAME Denim, Rag & Bone, Cur­rent/El­liot, El­iz­a­beth & James, Ash­ley Gra­ham Lin­gerie, Nike, Stu­art Weitz­man and more. The An­niver­sary Sale also fea­tured mer­chan­dise from Top­shop/Top­man, Madewell and Char­lotte Til­bury which are avail­able ex­clu­sively at Nord­strom. “We’re for­tu­nate to have a ter­rific team of buy­ers who start work­ing with our mer­chan­dise part­ners months be­fore the An­niver­sary

Sale be­gins,” said Scott Me­den, Nord­strom Chief Mar­ket­ing Of­fi­cer, and added, “Our part­ners know how im­por­tant this an­nual event is to our cus­tomers, so we’re ex­cited to be able to bring in a fan­tas­tic as­sort­ment of new styles at re­duced prices that aren’t avail­able any­where else.”

Ven­dor part­ner­ships for value…

To keep its cus­tomers happy, the re­tailer works very closely with its ven­dors across the world to cre­ate value. Be­sides its huge ven­dor base,

a small but grow­ing por­tion of over­all prod­uct of­fer­ing comes from Nord­strom Prod­uct Group (NPG), the re­tailer’s family of pri­vate la­bel brands. In 2016, NPG in­cluded 54 brands man­u­fac­tured in 484 fac­to­ries across 30 coun­tries. In­dia has the sec­ond high­est num­ber of ven­dors in this cat­e­gory (af­ter China) with 59 as­so­ci­ated fac­to­ries. NPG is com­mit­ted to work­ing with agents, man­u­fac­tur­ers, fac­to­ries and mills to en­sure that fi­nal con­sumers ob­tain com­pli­ant pri­vate la­bel mer­chan­dise. The Prod­uct In­tegrity team sup­ports NPG by proac­tively re­search­ing, in­ter­pret­ing and com­mu­ni­cat­ing rules, bans, reg­u­la­tions and stan­dards for all pri­vate la­bel prod­ucts. In ad­di­tion, a third-party test­ing pro­gramme has been im­ple­mented to en­sure that prod­ucts meet these stan­dards.

The NPG is ded­i­cated to pro­vid­ing gar­ments, al­low­ing com­fort­able move­ment while flat­ter­ing the fig­ure. The re­tailer’s tech­ni­cal de­sign­ers work with sup­pli­ers to achieve con­sis­tent fit and qual­ity by main­tain­ing stan­dards while achiev­ing the brand’s cost tar­gets and de­sign in­tegrity. The Tech­ni­cal De­sign team man­ages the fit process from de­sign through com­mer­cial­iza­tion. On the pro­duc­tion front, a spe­cial Pro­duc­tion Plan­ning team man­ages the pro­duc­tion time­line from or­der com­mit­ment through pro­duc­tion ex­e­cu­tion and de­liv­ery. The plan­ners com­mu­ni­cate or­der com­mit­ments to the man­u­fac­tur­ers, main­tain cost­ing and han­dle pur­chase or­der man­age­ment. To­gether, the re­tailer and its global ven­dors strive to of­fer new prod­ucts at best prices.

NPG also tested eight new pack­ag­ing re­duc­tion pro­grammes in 2016, in­clud­ing use of less tis­sue pa­pers in Halo­gen cash­mere sweaters and re­moval of some of the pa­per­boards used in men’s dress shirts and un­der­wear. NPG’s women’s di­vi­sion stopped pack­ing denim and ca­sual knit tops in in­di­vid­ual plas­tic bags and in­stead now packs mul­ti­ple prod­ucts in one large bag… These pack­ag­ing-re­duc­tion pi­lots kept more than 20 tonnes of pack­ag­ing out of the sup­ply chain.

With a vi­sion of a happy value chain, the re­tailer is also work­ing with two fac­to­ries in north­ern In­dia, to pi­lot Project Pr­erna, an ini­tia­tive from the non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Im­pactt Limited. The ini­tia­tive is to train fac­tory man­age­ment and work­ers on ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion strate­gies to in­crease worker sat­is­fac­tion. More than 2,000 peo­ple are par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gramme, with work­ers and su­per­vi­sors al­ready re­port­ing about im­proved work­ing re­la­tion­ships and clearer paths for ad­vance­ment.

TOP FIVE NPG SUP­PLI­ERS FOR NORD­STROM IN 2016 BY VOL­UME

WERE: 1. CHINA (275 FAC­TO­RIES); 2. IN­DIA (59 FAC­TO­RIES); 3. VIET­NAM (16 FAC­TO­RIES); 4. UNITED STATES (48 FAC­TO­RIES);

AND 5. BANGLADESH (1 FAC­TORY)

Ash­ley Gra­ham

Hana Mae Lee

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