A special committee of Nordstrom's board of directors, tasked with working with Nordstrom family members to explore taking the department store retailer private, on Tuesday said that it has terminated discussions on that effort. "The special committee took this action because it could not reach agreement with the group on an acceptable price for the company," the company said in a press release.
A spokesperson for the family group, which includes Nordstrom Co-Presidents Blake W. Nordstrom, Peter E. Nordstrom and Erik B. Nordstrom, President of Stores James F. Nordstrom, Chairman Emeritus Bruce A. Nordstrom and Anne Gittinger, didn't immediately return Retail Dive's request for comment.
Earlier this month, the special committee had rejected the group's acquisition offer of $50 per share in cash as "inadequate."
The Nordstrom family's effort to take the department store company private would have provided a level of freedom to innovate likely not possible with the pressure of investors' shorter-term profit expectations.
The department store already has a strong record of innovation, including a tech-quisition strategy that has helped the retailer reach new customers, refine its merchandising and explore cutting-edge retail concepts, according to Maya Mikhailov, co-founder and chief marketing officer of GPShopper. The department store also has opened in-store pop-ups to feature cutting edge brands and is experimenting with a merchandise-free "Local" shop.
"Nordstrom purchased HauteLook and Trunk Club and has made a ton of investments — in Shoes of Prey, for example. They were original investors in Bonobos as well," Mikhailov earlier told Retail Dive. "Nordstrom is experimenting in emerging business models, which is very smart because it allows them to stay on the cusp of these trends and allows them to see what works. They're saying 'I don't know if there's a market here, but I'm willing to see if the consumer will adopt this and if we can bring this to mass market.'"
That level of experimentation and innovation will continue, however, even under the continued watchful eye of Wall Street, according to Erik Nordstrom, speaking at ShopTalk Tuesday as news of the board's decision broke, ReCode reports. Efforts like those delineated by Mikhailov, and Nordstrom stores themselves, provide a level of discovery not possible at Amazon, for example, Nordstrom said at ReCode's ShopTalk event.
The board itself echoed that in its press release Tuesday. "The company is uniquely positioned in the industry and has generated market share gains and industry-leading e-commerce penetration fueled by investments in digital capabilities to expand customer reach and engagement," they said in the release. "The special committee is confident that the company's ability to leverage its digital capabilities and its local market assets of people, product and place will support growth across both its full-price and off-price businesses."