The Biggest Luxury Department Store Going Out Of Business Forever

Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack are closing down 15 stores.

By Charlene Badasie | Updated


Luxury department store chain Nordstrom will be shuttering a total of 15 stores throughout North America this year. This includes locations housed under its sister brand Nordstrom Rack. The majority of closures will take place in Canada, with 13 branches going out of business. The move, which affects six flagship stores and seven Nordstrom Rack outlets, will leave 2,500 people without work.

The closures are expected to be finalized by the end of June. By comparison, only two stores will be closing in the United States. According to, both shops are located in San Francisco, California. The Nordstrom Rack will close its doors on July 1, while the Nordstrom outlet closes at the end of August.

Nordstrom confirmed the closures in an email to employees, which said, “The dynamics of the downtown San Francisco market have changed dramatically over the past several years, impacting customer foot traffic to our stores and our ability to operate successfully.” As such, the Chief Stores Officer said the company had no choice but to shutter 15 stores.

Headquartered in Washington, Nordstrom was founded by John W. Nordstrom and Carl F. Wallin. The pair opened their first store, Wallin & Nordstrom, in Seattle in 1901. The business began as a shoe store and grew over the years. In 1923, the duo added a second store in Seattle’s University District. Nordstrom ventured into women’s clothing in 1963 with the purchase of Best Apparel.

In 1971, the company went public and was formally renamed Nordstrom Inc. Two years later, annual sales surpassed $100 million, and the retail chain was recognized as the West Coast’s largest-volume fashion specialty store. The first Nordstrom Rack opened in 1973. It served as a clearance outlet for the full-line stores.


By 1975 the company opened stores in Alaska, and Nordstrom entered the competitive California market a few years later. By the late 1980s, the clothing chain had grown to 45 stores in six states. Nordstrom continued to expand, opening stores in Canada in 2014. Over time, the company’s business model evolved to include a diversification of its offerings and a focus on growth and profit.

Today, the chain competes with other luxury department stores such as Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, and Saks Fifth Avenue. According to Vogue, Nordstrom pivoted to drop shipping, concessions, and revenue-share deals in 2021. The move came as the company sought to offer more distribution options to brands and more assortment to its customers.

These decisions represent a shift following the aftermath of a global pandemic that accelerated the weaknesses associated with wholesale. But Nordstrom is not the only major retailer planning to leave San Francisco. Whole Foods will close its flagship location in the city due to concerns about employee safety.

The economic downturn in the United States has also significantly impacted the retail industry. Many companies have struggled to stay afloat due to reduced consumer spending and increased competition from online retailers. Not only has this resulted in significant job losses, but it also fundamentally changed the retail landscape in parts of the country.

But it’s not all bad news for the famous retail giant. The company plans to open a new Nordstrom Rack location in Macedonia, Ohio, slated to launch in spring 2024. The upcoming 28,000-square-foot store will be situated in Macedonia Gateway.