New York City – Twelve months to the date, department store chain Lord & Taylor closed its flagship on Fifth Avenue after more than 100 years in business. As we reported in the last issue, that property has now been sold to eCommerce brand Le Tote. Then in August, rival Barneys filed for bankruptcy and in October announced that all of its locations were likely to cease trading. In short, most legacy department store operators are calling time.
Apart from the Nordstrom family, that is, which has just cut the ribbon on a 320,000-square-foot (30,000-sq-m) venue covering the first seven floors of one of New York’s premier pieces of real estate, Central Park Tower, the tallest of the new generation of super-tall residential developments dominating the centre of Manhattan.
How will this store succeed where so many others have failed? Part of the answer, Nordstrom hopes, is in the abundance of fashion-adjacent services. While it’s reported that there will be more than 100,000 pairs of women’s shoes available across the property, it’s likely that the availability of onsite shoe repair, cleaning and customization services will help draw shoppers back with increased frequency. Indeed, tailoring across all categories is something the store aims to leverage to increase customer loyalty and footfall. Beauty features heavily, too. Over 210 different treatments will be on the menu, from haircare to massages to waxing and a ‘face gym’.
These sorts of offerings have already proved popular in the UK, where the likes of Harvey Nichols and Selfridges have both recently partnered with The Restory to offer in-store repairs for luxury goods, and Harrods has invested heavily in its onsite health and beauty facility The Wellness Clinic. Where the US retailer is truly evolving the department store offer, however, is in its hospitality provision.