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Nordstrom: America’s Finest Department Store – Strengths Weaknesses and Opportunities

Nordstrom: A Comprehensive Look at One of America’s Finest Department Stores

If you have been to a mall in the USA, chances are that you have heard of Nordstrom. In this article, we will be delving into the history of Nordstrom, exploring their strengths and weaknesses as well as their opportunities, and understanding why they are considered one of the best department stores in America.

Nordstrom’s Background and Strengths

Let us start with the background of this renowned department store. Nordstrom was founded in 1901 by Swedish immigrant John Nordstrom and his business partner and friend, Carl Wallin.

It was originally a shoe store in downtown Seattle, but it eventually grew into the Nordstrom we know today. Now, Nordstrom is run by co-presidents Erik Nordstrom and Pete Nordstrom, the fourth generation of the Nordstrom family.

The company has over 74,000 employees in different locations in the USA. Nordstrom stores offer a wide range of products, such as shoes, clothing, accessories, home goods, gifts, jewelry, beauty products, and more.

Additionally, Nordstrom has a restaurant, an espresso bar, a home furnishings store, a design studio, a spa, a stylist service, alteration & tailoring, and the Nordy Club membership program. Nordstrom has competitors in the market, such as JC Penny, Macy’s, Ross Stores Inc., Kohl’s, Neiman Marcus, TJ Maxx, Saks, Bloomingdales, Darlington, Dillard’s, Hudson Bay, Home Retail Group, Mercuries & Associates, and even Amazon.

Despite the competition, Nordstrom stands out as a company with many strengths. One of the company’s strengths is its diversified portfolio.

Nordstrom has a wide range of products and services that it offers, making it a one-stop-shop for all its customers’ needs. Nordstrom also has its exclusive brands, such as Trouv, Halogen, and Zella, among others, which sets them apart from other department stores.

Nordstrom has also been known for its strategic partnerships with other brands. One example is their partnership with Topshop, which significantly improved their fashion offerings.

Nordstrom’s financial position is strong, with a net sales of $10.5 billion, according to the company’s 2019 financial report. Nordstrom’s growth has been significant, with a 1.2% increase in comparable sales in 2019.

Another strength of Nordstrom is its customer service and return policy. The company is well-known for its willingness to provide excellent customer service, even going above and beyond their duties.

Nordstrom has a generous return policy, which allows the customers to return their products any time for any reason. Nordstrom is also innovative in the design of its customer experience.

The company has personalized stylist services, alteration and tailoring services, home furnishings services, and much more. Nordstrom has also been successful in its e-commerce penetration, and its buy online pickup in-store (BOPIS) strategy.

Furthermore, Nordstrom has fulfilled orders on the same day the purchase was made, thanks to its efficient delivery systems. Lastly, corporate responsibility is one of Nordstrom’s strengths, with a commitment to sustainability, community, and diversity.

Nordstrom’s Weaknesses and Opportunities

As with any business, Nordstrom also has a few weaknesses, which are worth discussing. One of the weaknesses of Nordstrom’s is their highly expensive merchandise.

Even though the company offers high-quality products, some items are priced too steeply, making it difficult for some customers to afford them. Another weakness is the limited global reach of Nordstrom.

Although the company has over 100 stores in the USA and Canada, Nordstrom is not well-known overseas, and its reach is limited to North America alone. Another issue that Nordstrom faces is a lack of diversification.

Nordstrom’s revenue is primarily generated from their department stores, which can be risky if there is a downturn in the retail market. To address this issue, Nordstrom has been exploring potential investments in other areas, such as technology and innovation.

Furthermore, Nordstrom’s investments can be costly and risky. The company has made some significant investments in the past, such as the acquisition of Trunk Club, which didn’t provide the desired results.

Brand dilution is another potential weakness of Nordstrom. The company’s family brand has been around for over a century, and as the company has expanded its portfolio, the brand’s identity may get diluted.

To prevent brand dilution, Nordstrom has sought to distinguish its family brand through its exclusive product offerings. Despite these weaknesses, Nordstrom has many opportunities for growth.

For example, Nordstrom can take advantage of the e-commerce platform, which is still growing and expanding. Another opportunity for Nordstrom is to attract younger customers who have a high demand for sustainable, ethically-sourced products.

Expanding into emerging markets, such as China and India, is another opportunity for Nordstrom to explore, given that these markets have a vast potential for retail growth. Nordstrom can also consider growing through acquisition or merging with other companies in the retail industry.

Lastly, diversifying Nordstrom’s portfolio to include more service offerings, such as in technology and innovation, would help mitigate the risk and provide more revenue streams. Fun Fact: John Nordstrom, the founder of Nordstrom, earned his fortune through his gambling business before venturing into shoe sales.


In conclusion, Nordstrom is one of America’s finest department stores, with a rich history and a vast selection of products and services. Nordstrom has many strengths, including a diversified portfolio, exclusive brands, strategic partnerships, and a commitment to corporate responsibility.

On the other hand, Nordstrom also has a few weaknesses, such as highly expensive merchandise, limited global presence, and potentially risky investments. However, there are also significant opportunities for Nordstrom’s growth, such as exploiting e-commerce, attracting younger customers, expanding into emerging markets, building a more diversified portfolio, and growing through acquisition.

Overall, Nordstrom is a company that has stood the test of time, and with their innovative strategies, they will continue to remain a major player in the retail industry. Nordstrom’s Threats

In recent years, the retail industry has faced many challenges, and Nordstrom, like other retail companies, has had its fair share of challenges.

In this section, we will look at some of the threats that Nordstrom faces.

Retail Apocalypse

One of the significant threats to Nordstrom is the ongoing retail apocalypse. The rise of e-commerce has impacted traditional retail stores, leading to many closures and bankruptcies.

The retail industry has not been spared from the effect of e-commerce, and Nordstrom has not been immune to the change either. The retail industry in the USA has lost over 40,000 stores, and more closures are expected.

Nordstrom has been closing some underperforming stores in recent years, which is an effort to reduce cost and ensure optimum efficiency.

Strong Competition

Nordstrom faces stiff competition in the retail industry. Competitors such as Macy’s and JC Penney offer similar products in the same market segment.

Other competitors include online retail stores such as Amazon and Zappos, which offer convenience and competitive prices. The challenge for Nordstrom is to stay competitive in a saturated retail market.

E-commerce Giant-Amazon

Nordstrom’s biggest competitor in the e-commerce space is Amazon. Amazon has evolved into a major player in the retail industry, with an extensive selection of products, great prices, and convenient fulfillment options.

Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods has been seen as a threat to Nordstrom, given Whole Food’s offering of organic clothing and sustainable fashion.

Rental Clothing Subscription and Resale of Luxury Items

The rise of rental clothing subscription services and luxury item resale sites is a threat to Nordstrom. Companies such as Rent the Runway are gaining popularity, and they allow customers to rent high-end clothing items.

Luxury resale sites such as The RealReal offer customers an avenue to buy second-hand luxury items, which can be a competitive alternative to Nordstrom’s offerings.

Counterfeit Products

The sale of counterfeit goods is a significant challenge for Nordstrom. Counterfeit products impact the customer’s trust in the brand and can result in a loss of revenue and lawsuits.

Nordstrom has established measures to detect and prevent the sale of counterfeit products, but the risk remains.

Economic Recession

An economic recession is a threat not only to Nordstrom but also the retail industry as a whole. During a recession, consumers tend to have less disposable income, which may lead to a decrease in consumer spending.

This will not only lead to a decrease in revenue for Nordstrom but also limits the company’s ability to invest in new product lines and store growth.

Corona Virus Outbreak

The corona virus outbreak has impacted the retail industry significantly. Nordstrom temporarily closed its stores in March 2020 in response to the outbreak.

While Nordstrom’s online sales remain strong, the company’s brick-and-mortar stores have suffered significant losses due to the outbreak. Furthermore, supply chain disruptions caused by the virus outbreak have added to the challenges faced by Nordstrom.

References & More Information

Nordstrom’s annual report provides insights into the company’s performance, revenues, and financial outlook.,,, and offer up-to-date information on the company’s stock performance and the retail industry’s news. offers analysis on the company’s strategic partnerships, investor relations, and financial performance. covers local Nordstrom news, including the company’s store closings and employee benefits.

The US Government Accountability Office ( offers reports on counterfeit products and measures that retailers can take to mitigate the risk. Lastly, provides tips and tricks on how to save money while shopping at Nordstrom and offers insights into the company’s promotional activities.

In conclusion, Nordstrom must mitigate the threats it faces, such as the ongoing retail apocalypse, fierce competition, and the rise of rental clothing subscription services and luxury resale sites. The company must stay competitive in the e-commerce space, combat the sale of counterfeit products, and prepare for the possibility of an economic recession.

As the corona virus outbreak continues to impact the retail industry, Nordstrom must continue to adapt and evolve its strategies to remain successful in the ever-changing retail landscape. In conclusion, Nordstrom stands out as one of the top department stores in America.

Its diversified portfolio, exclusive brands, strategic partnerships, and customer service make it a major player in the retail industry. However, Nordstrom faces significant challenges, such as the ongoing retail apocalypse, intense competition from Amazon, rental clothing subscription services, and luxury resale sites.

The rise of counterfeit products and the possibility of an economic recession are additional challenges for the company. Nonetheless, Nordstrom’s commitment to innovation, corporate responsibility, and customer experience continues to set it apart from its competitors.

In conclusion, Nordstrom’s success in the retail industry is a testament to its adaptability, resilience, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

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