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Nordstrom Comes to New York

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Nordstrom is making its New York debut today. The firm opened a Nordstrom Rack location at Union Square.

The New York Times got a sneak peek of the location. It will be interesting to see if the chain tries to open a full-fledged Nordstrom department store in the city as a follow up.

So in recent months we've seen JCPenney, a Costco and now Nordstrom make their Manhattan debuts. No wonder Walmart has been making some noise lately. It seems like the downturn has created an opportunity for national chains to crack what has historically been a tough market to penetrate.

The store, Nordstrom Rack, is good news for the pocketbooks of the fashion-conscious, though not necessarily for the brand's first impression in New York. For instance, Nordstrom's customer service is a hallmark of the chain, but the Manhattan store will not offer that level of attention.

“Ideally we would have led with a full-line store,” Blake W. Nordstrom, the company's president, told reporters on Monday during a walking tour of the new store.

Yet finding a suitably luxurious location in Manhattan is like finding the perfect bowl of porridge. Many spaces are too small, too dark or have ceilings that are too low. And competition for big, alluring spaces is stiff (read: astronomically expensive).

Even the new Union Square store is, at 32,136 square feet, slightly smaller than the typical 35,000-square-foot Nordstrom Rack. Besides, it takes a year or two to find a suitable spot and open a Rack, Mr. Nordstrom said. Opening a traditional Nordstrom takes on average of four years.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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