Amid Bleak Retail Landscape, Nordstrom Family May Take Company Private

Image courtesy of Phillip Pessar

Apparently, Nordstrom’s bold move to sell $425 pre-muddied jeans was somehow not enough to end the current retail industry doldrums. Now members of the Nordstrom family say they may take the company back from shareholders and go private.

The company said today that it’s formed a committee made up of independent directors to look into a potential “going private transaction.”

If it does decide to go ahead with privatization, 100% of the company’s shares of common stock would be acquired by a group comprised of company co-presidents Blake Nordstrom, Peter Nordstrom, and Erik Nordstrom, president of stores James Nordstrom, chairman emeritus Bruce Nordstrom, and Anne Gittinger.

Blake and Bruce Nordstrom took executive control of the company in 2000 after years of dwindling sales. At the time, the Nordstrom family controlled about one-third of company stock.

Nothing is for certain yet: Even if the group does make a proposal to buy all those shares, the special committee might not accept it.

Like pretty much every other retailer right now struggling to attract foot traffic and compete in the fast fashion world, Nordstrom could use a boost: The company’s shares have dropped 16% so far this year, reports The Wall Street Journal. Upon the news that the company is exploring going private, however, shares shot up 15%.

But despite that bleak retail landscape, Nordstrom isn’t suffering as much as some of its peers, notes the WSJ, partly due to its acquisition of startups like Trunk Club, and the expansion of its off-price Nordstrom Rack chain.

Whatever the company decides to do, perhaps it should reconsider selling mom jeans with clear knees for $95 and stones wrapped in leather for $85.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.