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Coming in 2018: Nordstrom New York City

BY Michael Fickes

Nordstrom never rushes things. It moves forward slowly, thoughtfully and creatively. And when the company makes a decision, observers tend to nod their heads and say: “Hey, that’s a good idea.”

A week ago, in a news conference announcing the acquisition of a West Side Manhattan Nordstrom store site for $102.5 million, Peter Nordstrom said: “We’ve had the intention and the drive, gosh, probably for the last 25 years to try to be here. We fully expect this to be our most successful store.”

Nordstrom paid the $102.5 million to Extell Development for the land and development rights. Observers say that it is essentially a down payment for the delivery of a store.

Come 2018, Nordstrom’s Manhattan address will be 225 W. 57th Street, not far from Carnegie Hall and Time Warner Center, which, of course, houses the 53 shops and nine restaurants of The Shops at Columbus Circle — sales per sq. ft. $1,600.

Now The Shops will have Nordstrom and Nordstrom will have The Shops to help draw customers.

The new store will span 285,000 sq. ft. on seven floors of an 88-story tower with residential condominiums and a hotel on the upper floors.

Some news reports have noted that Nordstrom filed public documents last week that said the retail space would be 175,000 sq. ft. Reports from last year used the 285,000-sq.-ft. number so the real footprint hasn’t been settled on just yet.

What has been worked out is that Nordstrom’s Manhattan flagship store will rise 1,550 ft. The Empire State Building is 1,454 ft. tall, including its antenna.

So Nordstrom can say that its New York City store resides in one of the world’s tallest buildings.

Hey, that’s a good idea.


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Campbell’s soup prepared in a Keurig brewer?

BY CSA STAFF

Campbell Soup Co. and Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc. are joining forces and launching Campbell’s Fresh-Brewed Soup K-Cup packs, which will offer consumers Campbell’s soups that can be prepared in Keurig brewers.

“This innovative partnership is a win for consumers and for both companies, and represents another important step as Campbell expands into higher-growth spaces,” said Denise Morrison, president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co. “Campbell is connecting with consumers in new and exciting ways. We expect this delicious Campbell’s fresh-brewed soup to provide consumers with a flavorful, convenient soup that fits their lives today.”

“Campbell’s is an iconic brand that shares our focus on harnessing innovation to delight consumers — making them an ideal partner as we take this first step beyond beverages for the Keurig system,” said Brian P. Kelley, president and CEO of GMCR. “The union of Campbell’s great taste and the speed and convenience of Keurig invites new consumption occasions and positions both companies to better meet the growing snacking needs of consumers in the U.S.”

Campbell’s Fresh-Brewed Soup consists of a broth K-Cup pack and a packet of dry pasta and vegetable blend garnish. Consumers simply brew a broth K-Cup pack over this garnish.

The companies expect to launch three varieties of the new soup, including Homestyle Chicken Broth and Noodle, in 2014. They also expect Campbell’s Fresh-Brewed Soup to be offered in the same aisles and retail sections of stores where Keurig Brewed K-Cup pack varieties are sold.

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Americans buying cars, but not consumables

BY CSA STAFF

When Walmart lowered its full year sales forecast last month the company said customer were being cautious with their spending. Maybe so, but that wasn’t the case in new car showrooms were automakers reported record sales and in the process created new holiday headwind for Walmart and other retailers.

On August 15, Walmart reported disappointing second quarter financial results and same store sales decline of 0.3% at U.S. stores. At the time, CFO Charles Holley noted, “The retail environment remains challenging in the U.S. and our international markets, as customers are cautious in their spending. Net sales in the first six months were below our expectations, so we are updating our forecast for net sales to grow between 2% and 3% for the full year versus our previous range of 5% to 6%.”

Conversely, virtually every major automaker reported strong, if not record, sales growth during August and offered evidence of consumers’ willingness to spend freely. For example, sales at Ford increased 12.2% to 221,270 vehicles. Sales at Toyota increased 18.4% to 231,537 units. Honda set a new record with sales up 26.7% to 166,432 units. Hyundai too set an all-time sale record with 66,101 units leaving showrooms for an 8% increase. Mazda sold 28,106 vehicles, a 26.4% increase from last year and the most vehicles in 10 years.

The strength wasn’t limited to mass market brands either, as luxury makes set new records too. BMW sales in August increased a stunning 45.7% to 24,523 vehicles. Mercedes-Benz USA increased sales by 15.8% to 27,144 units and Porsche Cars North America increased sales 10% to 3,327 vehicles. For the year, Porsche sales are up 28% to 28,456 units.

Why this matters to Walmart and other retailers is because in another month or two, about the time when they are looking to pry as much money as possible from shoppers, is when all those folks who bought new vehicles in August will be making their first or second payment. It is also worth noting that auto sales were strong all summer so many car buyers are adjusting to the new reality of having a big bite taken out of their household budget each month.
Obviously, that leaves less money to spend during the holidays and further pressures retailers who have warned of second half sales challenges. Aside from losing a job, nothing alters shopper behavior as much as having to make new car payment each month, something a surprisingly large number of people will be doing later this year.

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