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Nordstrom ends buyout talks with members of founder’s family

UPDATED: Tue., March 20, 2018

Shoppers come and go from Nordstrom Inc.’s flagship store in downtown Seattle on Sept. 13, 2017. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
Shoppers come and go from Nordstrom Inc.’s flagship store in downtown Seattle on Sept. 13, 2017. (Ted S. Warren / AP)
Associated Press

NEW YORK – Department store operator Nordstrom ended buyout talks with family members of the company’s founder, saying Tuesday it couldn’t get the group to raise its price.

Nordstrom had rejected an offer of $50 a share earlier this month from the family group – which includes high-level company executives – and called the price “inadequate.” At the time, the shares were trading above that level.

The family members include co-presidents Blake, Peter and Erik Nordstrom, who are descendants of John W. Nordstrom. Together, they have a stake of about 30 percent in the company, according to FactSet.

A special committee for Nordstrom’s board of directors, formed to represent the company in talks with the family over a potential sale, said Tuesday the chain is “well-positioned to capitalize on future opportunities to gain market share.”

It said its plan is offering products that differentiate itself from its competitors, “delivering exceptional services and experiences; and leveraging the strength of its brand.”

Nordstrom, like other department stores, is trying to adapt to changing customer behavior. The company reported quarterly sales and profits that fell short of expectations for the period that included the holiday season. The missed targets overshadowed Nordstrom’s healthy 2.6 percent increase in sales at established stores, which is a key measure of a retailer’s health.

Taking the company private would pave the way for the chain – which traces its roots to a Seattle shoe store opened in 1901 – to manage its reinvention without the watch of the public markets.

Shares of Nordstrom Inc., which closed at $49.35 on Tuesday, fell nearly 3 percent in extended trading.

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