- At its New York City flagship and online, Nordstrom on Friday will launch "See You Tomorrow," an apparel resale shop curated by Olivia Kim, vice president of creative projects, according to a company press release emailed to Retail Dive. The assortment will include women's apparel, shoes and handbags; men's apparel, accessories and shoes; children's wear; and jewelry and watches.
- The shop will be stocked in part with cleaned, repaired and refurbished items from the Nordstrom Quality Center, which processes returned and damaged merchandise from the company's full-price stores. Another source will be customers, who can exchange their own used clothing at the New York flagship for gift cards they can use at Nordstrom, Nordstrom.com, Nordstrom Rack, NordstromRack.com, HauteLook and Trunk Club. The company is working on the option to mail in items as well.
- The retailer has teamed with logistics startup Yerdle to prepare and process used items for sale, and on "authentication of certain luxury designer items" via a partnership with Entrupy, according to the company announcement.
Around the time of the grand opening of their much-anticipated New York City full-line store, Nordstrom executives told a gathering of press and analysts that they were exploring apparel resale and rental.
Other retailers had already done so, notably Macy's and J.C. Penney, which one day after another in August each announced a partnership with resale site ThredUp. That same month, online apparel rental site Le Tote acquired department store Lord & Taylor. And ThredUp struck again in October with a Madewell partnership.
Nordstrom, in addition to its efforts with Rent the Runway, appears to have decided to tackle resale on its own, giving the project to Kim. She has already made her mark at the retailer's New York City women's store with curated spaces for Burberry and Nike that include merchandise exclusive to that location.
Maintaining control of the effort, rather than leaving it to an existing player like ThredUp, goes beyond branding it with its own name, however. Kim worked with artist and furniture designer Marc Hundley, who also worked on other Kim-led projects at that store, to design and build the See You Tomorrow shop-in-shop. And the space will have what has become a signature feature of the new Nordstrom — food and beverage — in this case "an outpost of Bonberi Bodega" that will have "sustainable market finds including fresh juices, salads, grain bowls, noodles and more."
With its take on resale, as with its other initiatives, the retailer may be working hard to prove the viability of the department store model in the 21st century. But that hasn't spared it the challenges endemic to the segment. Wedbush analysts on Thursday released data on Nordstrom that shows "a mixed promotional atmosphere likely netting to merchandise margin flat to down [year over year], while revenue runs below street estimates," and with December's momentum of healthier margins slowing in January. Still the Wedbush team, led by Jen Redding, gives the retailer points for its differentiation.
"We continue to see value in shares of Nordstrom for long-term deep value investors, and see benefits from the company's localized market strategy, unique limited distribution brand growth, and leverage owing to a powerful omni channel as driving value in time," she wrote.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Olivia Kim was involved in bringing Glossier to Nordstrom stores.