After reading the article “Conservative Nordstrom to sell trendy Topshop fashions,” respond to the following:
- How does this partnership fit into Nordstrom’s current brand management strategy? Will it appeal to its target markets? How will it allow Nordstrom to differentiate itself from the competition?
- Is this a risky move for Nordstrom considering the downward sales trends for Topshop in the UK?
Topshop, which incorporates trends from the runway and from street fashion into its clothing in a matter of weeks, will add some speed to the conservative U.S. retailer.
Nordstrom, the conservative Seattle department store chain, is bringing in Topshop, the British fast-fashion chain with rock ‘n’ roll flair.
Topshop, along with the men’s brand Topman, will be introduced in Nordstrom in September and sold through Nordstrom.com, the companies said Thursday. Topshop, which incorporates trends from the runway and from street fashion into its clothing in a matter of weeks, will add some speed to Nordstrom, which has so far lacked such a quick- turnaround brand.
“This will be a new customer for them, and a new customer for us,” said Philip Green, the owner of Topshop, in an interview Thursday at Topshop’s New York store, one of three stores it has in the United States.
Department stores want to bring in young shoppers, and partnerships like this is a popular way to do it. J.C. Penney has carried clothes from the fast-fashion brand Mango, under its MNG by Mango line, for a couple of years. On Tuesday, Neiman Marcus and Target announced they would jointly be carrying Christmastime collections from 24 designers including Carolina Herrera and Derek Lam.
Nordstrom will add Topshop to 14 of its 231 stores in September. The company said the 14 stores covered a range of geographies, sizes and shopper demographics, so Nordstrom could get a sense of what worked where; from there, the plan is to roll out Topshop and Topman to most of its stores.
“Fast fashion implies cheap, and that’s not what we’re after,” said Pete Nordstrom, president of merchandising for Nordstrom. “It wasn’t about how we sell a bunch of really cheap T-shirts. It’s about how we deliver credible new fashion to the customer.”
The Nordstrom offering will be a smaller selection of what is also available at Topshop proper, though some styles and patterns will be exclusive to Nordstrom. Kate Phelan, Topshop’s creative director, showed off some fall clothing that Nordstrom will be able to pick from, like a women’s leather jacket with faux-shearling trim and buckles at the neck, a men’s peacoat in a Navajo pattern, and a women’s cable-knit sweater in ombre gray. Nordstrom will also carry Topshop and Topman accessories, including shoes, bags, makeup and grooming products.
Ms. Phelan said that although she expected the Nordstrom shoppers to be more conservative, Topshop would still offer a wide range of styles for them. “We make them feel it’s very easy to understand how to mix a combat jacket with a lace skirt,” she said.
The merchandise will be delivered weekly, which, Mr. Green said, will bring customers into Nordstrom stores frequently. “That speed is appealing,” Mr. Nordstrom said.
The department store is allocating about 2,500 square feet, or 230 square meters, for the women’s Topshop merchandise, and 1,500 square feet for the men’s. Mr. Nordstrom said the mannequins and signs would be similar to those in a Topshop store, though Nordstrom’s would not set off the merchandise with walls.
While Topshops usually blare music, Nordstrom is known for its tinkling pianos. Mr. Nordstrom said that, at least for now, “it’s going to live amongst what we do,” meaning a D.J. probably won’t be setting up a station in the Topshop section anytime soon. …