Nordstrom debuts service-focused store with no inventory

Nordstrom's owners reportedly choosing Leonard Green as financial partner

The Bear Case for Nordstrom, Inc. (JWN)

The new Nordstrom store is only a concept and it is set to open on October 3.

In addition, the new format will offer "personal stylists", who can transfer requested merchandise (from Nordstrom stores or its website) to Nordstrom Local for shoppers. Customers can pick up the merchandise at Nordstrom Local or have it delivered to their homes. That same day, the company will also open a new full-size department store at the renovated Westfield Century City mall. Local will also offer manicures and a bar that offers coffee, pressed juices, and wine or beer.

"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", Shea Jensen, Nordstrom Senior Vice President of Customer Experience, said in a statement.

When customers enter Nordstrom Local, they'll likely notice it's much smaller than a typical Nordstrom location. It will have a 3,000 square-foot footprint, which is a fraction of the average 140,000 square-foot size of its 121 department stores.

Despite Nordstrom's record as one of the better-performing department store merchants in recent years, financiers are thought to be reluctant to wade into a sector that has seen plenty of recent failures. So far, the luxury department store has largely avoided the full brunt of the 'retail apocalypse, ' but the stock is trading at just 55% of its $82 peak in March of 2015.

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While the AP story cites a study that claims 90% of worldwide retail spending is still in physical locations, a study by CapGemini Consulting says that increasingly consumers don't like the brick-and-mortar experience.

Nordstrom saw just 3% sales growth in its last quarter and in its last fiscal year saw sales increase just 2%, so I can understand the motivation to try something new and think outside of the box. The stock closed Tuesday at $45.05, down from $47.16 immediately after the proposed buyout was disclosed more than three months ago.

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