Nordstrom has promoted Shea Jensen to executive vice president and general merchandise manager for women's apparel, supporting the women's buying team. Jensen has been at the department store for more than 25 years, most recently as senior vice president of customer experience, according to a company press release. She was responsible for its market strategy in Los Angeles, which has since been brought to New York City.
The retailer is also combining merchandising operations for its men's and women's designer apparel. To that end, Nordstrom is expanding Sam Lobban's role. Previously vice president of men's fashions, Lobban is now vice president of ready-to-wear and new concepts.
The shuffling reflects a further revamp of Nordstrom's merchandising teams after creating a new chief merchandising position in August, naming company veteran Teri Bariquit to the post.
Nordstrom in recent weeks has made it clear that its merchandising-free Local stores, piloted and then expanded in Los Angeles last year, have become integral to its operations.
Speaking to analysts in New York City as the company opened its first flagship there, Nordstrom executives said they're planning more Local stores for its top 10 markets next year, starting with Chicago, San Francisco and Dallas ahead of the holidays this year.
Jensen led that new market strategy in L.A., which resulted "in increased customer engagement, significant online order pickup growth and ultimately stronger sales performance," according to the company's release. "[S]he's been driving large-scale change and innovation across the company, focusing on seamless, multi-channel journeys, services and experiences to serve our customers in a digital world," the company said.
That results in synergies through its off-price Rack, Local and full-line stores that the company is banking on. "These are not separate businesses," Co-president Erik Nordstrom said in New York. That provides for inventory management that allows for a seven-fold increase in selection, and executives said they expect a third of its Rack customers to eventually shop full price, a notion that some analysts see as wishful thinking.
The company's Local stores also foster its renewed focus on high-touch customer services like tailoring and styling advice and reflect its longtime innovations around new retail models. Most recently, Nordstrom expanded its partnership with Rent the Runway and said that would eventually entail even more than the RTR drop-off boxes that will soon be in 29 stores.
And its designer apparel effort goes beyond traditional department store merchandising. The company on Monday added a collection from Stella & Dot to its roster of emerging brands, according to a Stella & Dot press release emailed to Retail Dive. It will be the first brick-and-mortar channel for the accessories startup, which otherwise relies on "social selling" and a "community of ambassadors" through its own website, the e-retailer said.