Nordstrom Wants Younger Customers – Buys Stake In Topshop With Asos Joint Venture

Ever since 2012 Nordstrom has featured Topshop and Topman as one of their important departments that appeales to younger customers. Nordstrom was the department store chain that brought these brands to the US and Canada. During the pandemic caused by COVID-19 Topshop and Topman, then owned by Sir Philip Green’s Arcadia Group went into U.K..’s administrative service (we call it bankruptcy proceedings) in November 2020.

As the result of the administrative service (bankruptcy in U.S. terms) Topshop and Topman closed all European and US stores. The shops in Nordstrom stores remained open. In February 2021 British on -line retailer Asos bought Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT from Arcadia Group. Nordstrom, now the exclusive U.S. distributor of Topshop and Topman, is the only brick and mortar retailer for these brands both in the U.S. and Canada.

Nordstrom has now acquired a minority interest in Asos and thus has a minority interest in Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and active wear label HIIT. B of F speculates that the deal could pave the way for a wider strategic partnership. Well, it might. The financial terms were not disclosed. Asos spent £295 Million ($410 Million) to acquire Topshop, Topman. Miss Selfridge and HIIT in February 2021.

The Topshop and Topman appeal is to a young sophisticated costumer that shops in stores and is often lost in the racks. The two shops, that I know, have carried excellent “dress for comfort” apparel, including denims. Topshop carries merchandise for women and men.

One of the ideas that appears to be under discussion according to B of F is collaboration beyond the Topshop brand for some other Asos brands, targeting the younger department store customer. The plan is initially that e-commerce orders made through Asos will be available for pick-up in Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores starting this fall. Nordstrom President Pete Nordstrom said the collaboration could redefine the way a department store operator works with brands. He added “Bringing the Asos brands, including Topshop and Topman, to our customers allows us to create newness and excitement.”

In response, Nick Brighton, CEO of Asos said: “With the long-established connection to Topshop, extensive U.S. consumer insight and unparalleled reach right across North America, Nordstrom is the right partner to help Asos accelerate the growth of our Topshop and Asos brands in this key market. Partnering with Nordstrom will support our U.S. strategy, allowing us to offer that to even more 20-somethings in North America.”

A short footnote: Department stores must seek a new approach to customers. The pre-pandemic look does not reflect today’s mood. Innovation is a key word for the future success of stores. Nordstrom’s merchants are not standing still, they develop partnerships for the future. They will be winners.

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