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The upscale department store last week announced that it was opening a tiny 3,000 square foot store - a small fraction of its typical 140,000 square-foot emporia - in Los Angeles that will not carry any clothing merchandise but instead offer services like personal stylists as well as refreshments like beer and wine. Nordstrom, which operates 121 full service department stores along with a chain of Rack discount stores, said the move was a reflection of changing customer tastes and behavior. The Nordstrom Local store, as will be called, is set to open Oct. 3.
"As the retail landscape continues to transform at an unprecedented pace, the one thing we know that remains constant is that customers continue to value great service, speed and convenience," said Shea Jensen, Nordstrom senior vice president of customer experience, in a statement.
Nordstrom is just the latest major retailer struggling with declining sales at its physical stores, a particularly acute problem at department stores, and looking to smaller format stores as way to reach more customers — comparable sales at Nordstrom's full-service department stores fell 7 percent in the first half of the current fiscal year.
Such retailers include the likes of Target, which is focusing those efforts on city centers, and Kohl's and Sears which are shrinking many existing stores. Amazon.com has opened a number of bookstores with a far more limited selection than a Barnes & Noble store on the bet that shoppers don't want to be overwhelmed by a physical store and that an e-commerce site can fill any gap.
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