Rack is set to open

After months of planning, Nordstrom Rack is set to open in Burbank next week, joining Ashley Furniture and Burlington Coat Factory as new players in the city’s retail mix.

Nordstrom Rack will open Oct. 21 in the Burbank Empire Center, taking over the space abandoned by Linens ‘n Things in 2008. The 35,000-square-foot store will feature brand-name apparel, shoes and accessories at substantial discounts from their original Nordstrom prices.


Earlier this year, Burlington Coat Factory and Ashley Furniture HomeStore announced that before the end of the year they will move into the Burbank Town Center, occupying spaces vacated in 2008 by Mervyn’s and Circuit City, respectively.

Burbank Deputy City Manager Joy Forbes said the arrival of the retailers portends good things for the retail economy — and for city finances.


“We’re definitely happy that some of these bigger stores are getting filled up,” Forbes said. “Through the (2009) holiday season we fared pretty well, and little boutiques and smaller retailers have held their end of the bargain. It makes the community seem more whole when you see these bigger sites fill with quality retailers.”

The Burbank Empire Center, just off the Interstate 5 near Victory Boulevard, is anchored by major chain stores, including Target, Best Buy and Costco.

“We’ve got lots of loyal customers in that area, and the Orange County-Los Angeles region has been super-important to our business for many, many years,” said Nordstrom spokesman Colin Johnson.

Seattle-based Nordstrom Inc. operates more than 70 Nordstrom Racks and 110 Nordstrom stores in 28 states. The nearest full-line Nordstrom is in the Glendale Galleria. The nearest Nordstrom Rack is at the Glendale Fashion Center on Glendale Avenue.


“We have been working on the Nordstrom deal for quite some time, and these big leases take longer than we’d like to iron out all the deal points and get the stores open and operating,” said Michele McKinnie, manager of the Empire Center.

The center has performed well in the wake of the recession, she added.

“We have high demand to get into the Empire Center,” McKinnie said. “It is a great location and the stores are thriving despite the economic downturn. Though sales may have slid for some, I think it is because they were performing above and beyond expectations.”

One vacancy remains at the center, the site of the former Sbarro piazza restaurant. McKinnie said she has a waiting list to take over that property, after which the center will be fully occupied.