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Nordstrom suspends its plan to go private

Nordstrom's discount stores, called Nordstrom Rack, have been faring better than its department stores.
Nordstrom’s discount stores, called Nordstrom Rack, have been faring better than its department stores.
(Alan Diaz / Associated Press)

An effort to take Nordstrom Inc. private has halted, at least temporarily.

In June, members of the Nordstrom family — including company co-Presidents Blake, Peter and Erik Nordstrom — said they were thinking about acquiring the approximately 70% of the stock they don’t already own. Going private could give the upscale retailers more flexibility to navigate a rapidly changing retail environment.

In recent weeks, reports have said the Nordstrom group was in discussions with private equity firms that might have supplied some of the funding.

But on Monday, the Seattle company said the Nordstrom family members have stopped actively exploring a path to take it private. They may start up the search again after the end of the crucial holiday shopping season, it said.

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Department stores sales have been under financial pressure as more people shop online and at off-price retailers or spend less money overall on clothing, which makes up a big part of Nordstrom’s business.

Nordstrom has been among the best-performing department store chains, though its discount stores, called Nordstrom Rack, have been faring better than its department stores.

It is experimenting with new concepts to win back shoppers as well. It just opened a store in Los Angeles that has no inventory and is staffed with personal stylists who can order merchandise for customers. Customers can also buy online while inside the store or pick up online orders the same day. The store also offers tailoring and manicure services.

The chain traces its roots to a Seattle shoe store opened by Swedish immigrant John Nordstrom and a partner in 1901.

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Shares of Nordstrom slid 5.3% on Monday to $40.40.

The Seattle Times/McClatchy contributed to this report.


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