The family run Nordstrom’s opened it’s 43rd new department store since they regained control in 2000. Nordstrom gained a 12% in this past year to a $9.7 billion dollar high. Nordstrom also gained market share while Neiman Marcus and Saks have been slowed by the recession. Nordstrom has expanded in the US and abroad to Canada, but have decided not to franchise their retail outlets abroad.
Nordstrom’s success has been attributed to making customer service the primary focus of operations. Nordstrom’s has lead the way in high level customer service and consistently ranks in the top 3 on Luxury institute surveys that measure customer service. Nordstrom’s retail stores are set up into lifestyle sections, making it easy for customers to assemble outfits.
Nordstrom’s was run by a non-family member John Whitacre from 1995 – 2000. During this time period Nordstrom moved away from some things that had attributed to past success. In 2000 the 4th generation Nordstrom brothers pitched themselves to the board and were eventually selected to run the company. The Nordstrom brothers went back to listening to their sales force out on the floors. They also implemented a new inventory system that allowed the sales people to see all of Nordstrom’s inventory. This new system allowed them to compete with e-tailers and give their customers superior customer service. Some autonomy was lost in the implementation of the new inventory system but was well worth the gains in customer satisfaction and sales revenue.