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Monday, September 23, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Nordstrom to close its Seattle Northgate store in August

UPDATED: Fri., June 7, 2019, 5:01 p.m.

In this Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, photo, shoppers walk though an elevated walkway at Nordstrom's flagship store in downtown Seattle. The Nordstrom at North Seattle’s Northgate Mall will close Aug. 9, 2019. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
In this Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, photo, shoppers walk though an elevated walkway at Nordstrom's flagship store in downtown Seattle. The Nordstrom at North Seattle’s Northgate Mall will close Aug. 9, 2019. (Ted S. Warren / Associated Press)
By Paul Roberts Seattle Times

In yet another sign of the rapidly shrinking landscape for traditional retailers and shopping malls, Nordstrom announced it plans this summer to close its Northgate location, one of the oldest in the family-run company.

The Northgate store’s approximately 170 employees learned the news Friday morning, according to a Nordstrom spokesperson, who added that the Nordstrom Rack at Northgate will remain open. The company is “confident we’ll be able to offer new roles to each employee,” said spokeswoman Emily Sterken in an email.

The closure, set for Aug. 9, comes amid a major redevelopment of Northgate Mall as well as deep challenges for Nordstrom. The Seattle-based retailer has been shuttering under-performing stores at the rate of two a year as it struggles against stiff competition from online retailers and discount brick-and-mortar stores as well as the declining popularity of malls.

In May, Nordstrom reported a sharp drop in first-quarter profits and faltering sales due in part to what co-president Erik Nordstrom described as “executional misses with the customer experience.”

“Looking at our business needs in the Seattle market and the future plans for Northgate Mall as it prepares for a significant transformation, we’ve made the decision to close our Northgate Mall store,” the company said in a statement Friday about the closure, which was first reported by the Puget Sound Business Journal. “This decision will allow us to focus on serving customers at nearby Nordstrom stores, including our Northgate Nordstrom Rack, as well as online.”

The statement emphasized that Nordstrom has made “significant investments” to renovate both its downtown Seattle and Alderwood mall locations.

The retailer also continues to open new locations in a few key urban markets- including a massive new flagship store slated to launch in October in New York City.

But much of the news about Nordstrom has been grim. On top of a tough market, the company has committed several tactical errors, including the bungled rollout of an update to its loyalty program in early 2019. Since 2015, Nordstrom has seen its share price fall by more than half, despite efforts to slow the decline with large share repurchases. At Friday’s close, Nordstrom’s share price was at $31.67.

The Nordstrom closure is only the latest among large retailers at Northgate, which is slated to get new residential and office buildings as well as a practice space for the city’s new National Hockey League team.

Last October, J.C. Penney announced it would close its Northgate location in 2019. And earlier this year, Macy’s announced that its Northgate location would also close this summer.

Nordstrom’s Northgate location has been a key piece of the local retail landscape since 1950, when it opened in the then-new Northgate Mall, which is often described as the first mall in the United States.

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