Nordstrom on Tuesday announced the opening of its fourth and fifth Local stores in the Los Angeles area, in Newport Beach on Nov. 6 and in Manhattan Beach "in the coming months."
The new merchandise-free locations will offer pickup of online orders from Nordstrom, Rack or HauteLook; curbside pickup with delivery to the trunk of a customer's car; returns; alterations; free styling advice; and gift wrapping, according to a company press release.
A Nordstrom spokesperson declined to say whether the company will open Locals in more cities ahead of the holidays as previously planned.
Executives have previously said that Nordstrom's merchandise-free Local stores are key to what the company calls its "market strategy," a weaving together of its operations — full-line stores, off-price Racks and Locals — to offer a higher level of convenience and strengthen its connection with customers.
The scheme is probably best exemplified in New York City. There two Locals, a new flagship and several Rack stores provide touchpoints for sales, returns and services. Erik Nordstrom counts five markets with the strategy in place; not all include Locals.
In any case, the pandemic has interfered with the strategy, even in New York, depriving the flagship of the tourists and office workers who had been expected to shop its assortment and frequent its many food and beverage options. More broadly, the disease outbreak appears to have slowed down the company's move to create a similar ecosystem in all of its top markets.
CEO Erik Nordstrom in August acknowledged that the pandemic has been an obstacle. "Obviously, COVID has added a lot of bumpiness, to put it mildly, to our business." he said. "But it has been clear for some time that where we have rolled out market strategy, those markets have outperformed our other markets. So we rolled out five markets of our top 10 the back half of last year. We are on pace to roll out five more in the back half of this year."
On Tuesday, a company spokesperson declined to say whether that remains realistic or whether more Locals are planned for the year. "We don't have anything to share about opening additional Nordstrom Local locations at this time, however, our customers help guide our journey and this is something we'll continue to look at," the spokesperson said.
Nordstrom is finding other ways to boost convenience at the holidays. Starting Nov. 5, Nordstrom card members in top markets are eligible for free two-day home delivery, according to the spokesperson.