Walmart has incurred its share of ‘retail wrath’ from the public and critics who disagree with its policies—among others low wages and benefits, a non-unionized work force, lower prices as a result of fierce bargaining with suppliers to sell at reduced costs, which supporters claim Walmart passes on to customers, but which critics counter causes local businesses, including the beloved ‘mom and pop’ stores to close and Walmart stockholders to reap ‘too much profit.’
Move over Walmart; Nordstrom is now incurring its own ‘retail wrath’ following an announcement to close its Utah Orem City Mall store in February. The store has been profitable, but according to Blake Nordstrom, company president, it has not met growth expectations and promises little future potential, hence the decision to close, rather than update the store as is company policy at or near the ten year mark.
Nordstrom made its Utah debut in 1980 with a store in the now closed Crossroads Mall on Main Street in downtown Salt Lake. Other stores followed in the Ogden, Orem University, and Fashion Place malls. In the early 90’s, Nordstrom opened an outlet store, Nordstrom Rack in Sugar House. That store, remodeled in 2010, continues to flourish as do other Nordstrom stores including a Rack in the South Town Commons, near the South Town Mall in Sandy and the Fashion Place Mall store in Murray.
The Orem store closure is one of only six other Nordstrom stores to close since 1990, one of the others being the Ogden City Mall store, which closed in 1999. During that same period of time, 80 other stores opened for a total of 225 Nordstrom stores in 30 states.
In response to a Salt Lake Tribune article, Nordstrom to shutter mall store in Orem, one commenter stated, ‘Good riddance. The costly apparel (ridiculously costly and prideful) is unnecessary and reinforces class distinctions.’
In a more formal response to that same article, Nordstrom walks, Salt Lake resident Ray Wilmont states Nordstrom will ‘protect the corporate interests at all costs. Forget about the interests of the community, the customers who have shopped loyally there for years . . .’
What Walmart’s many critics and now growing Nordstrom critics, including those cited in this article, don’t quite get is that retailers in a capitalistic system are in business to make a profit. And in Nordstrom’s case, their famous customer service does not extend to maintaining a store from which they do not anticipate growth and continued profits.
Nordstrom will open a store in March at the new City Creek shopping area in downtown Salt Lake City.