2015 RETROSPECTIVE: Macy’s Inc Tries Off-price, Nordstrom Tries More Stores

Nordstrom Inc. has been hard at work in Southern California in 2015.

Nordstrom opened a new full-line shop at Del Amo Fashion Center this year and announced two other new full-line stores. One would open in Carlsbad, Calif., at the proposed Caruso Affiliated center in the beachside town. Another will move from its current location at the Westside Pavilion retail center in Los Angeles to the Westfield Century City retail center, which is undergoing a massive renovation. Nordstrom also opened a handful of other full-line stores in Vancouver; Ottawa; Minnetonka, Minn.; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The retailer’s off-price division, Nordstrom Rack, continues to be a growth story, too. During 2015 it announced that it would open more than 10 stores.

For department-store giant Macy’s, 2015 was the year that it introduced its off-price retail brand Macy’s Backstage. In September, it opened three of the off-price stores in the New York area. By the end of the year, it intended to open three more.

According to a company statement, Macy’s Backstage will be a “cross between a department store and an outlet.” The size of the shops will range between 25,000 and 35,000 square feet, which a company statement described as a smaller format.

In February, Macy’s announced that it would acquire Bluemercury Inc., a beauty retailer, for $210 million in cash. However, throughout 2015, Macy’s posted single percentage-point declines in its quarterly same-store sales.

The company’s decline of 3.6 percent for its third quarter was announced in November. The report disappointed Wall Street. Terry J. Lundgren, Macy’s chairman, blamed the dip on tepid sales from domestic and tourist shoppers.

Macy’s hoped to regain its footing in part by boosting part of its tech program.

“This includes building on our strength as a leading omni-channel innovator with consistent growth in online sales,” Lundgren said. “No other retailer has our track record of mastering change and creating shareholder value with a model of customer centricity.”