Nordstrom, one of the few department-store brands that seem to be winning with shoppers, is introducing a fall ad campaign that celebrates real—and
Using a combination of models, notables and fashion civilians, the Seattle-based retailer says the brand campaign is its chance “to tell our most fashion-forward story, yet this season we put the focus back on the people,” says Olivia Kim, Nordstrom’s VP/creative projects, in its announcement. “We cast people we find inspiring, who have something to say and use their voice for positive impact and influence whether through art, education, journalism or mixed media.”
The campaign is the creation of the husband/wife team of photographer Max Farago and director Clara Cullen, who shot the videos. The simple portraits look like snapshots, featuring the latest looks in combinations more reminiscent of real-life than the fashion runway.
The effort, which includes video, print, digital, social, and out-of-home elements, includes people like journalist Hailey Gates, who hosts Viceland's series States of Undress, classically trained ballerinas from the Chicago Multi-Cultural Dance Center, fashion designers Vejas Kruszewski and Saam Emme, and numerous artists and creative influencers, wearing brands that include Alexander Wang A.P.C., Levi’s, Vejas, Topman and J. Crew.
The company also just released its second-quarter earnings, giving dejected retail investors something to cheer about. While chains like Macy’s, Kohl’s and J.C. Penney are reporting declining sales, Nordstrom beat expectations, reporting a same-store sales bump of 1.7%, and total sales gain of 3.5%, with revenues rising to $3.7 billion for the second quarter, compared with $3.6 billion in the same period a year ago. Same-store sales at its flagship brand fell 4.4%, however, while at Nordstrom Rack, its off-price chain, comparable-store sales rose 3.1%.
It attributes the gains to better results in its annual sale. (In fact, the event was so popular it caused the system to crash, sparking plenty of outrage on social media.) And it says of the five top-selling brands in the sale, three of them are Nordstrom’s private labels. It also says its rewards program keeps gaining traction, with 9.4 million active members, up from 6.2 million a year ago. Online sales grew 20%, while net income fell to $110 million, from $117 million in last year’s results.
Describing Nordstrom’s numbers as “a ray of sunshine,” Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, writes that its ability to beat industry expectations “stands as a reminder that even in a challenging market, getting the strategy right can, and does, make all the difference.”
He points out that while Nordstrom’s physical stores are suffering from the same doldrums as other chains, “this softness was more than made up for by the incredibly strong growth in the online businesses of both the full- and off-price divisions. It is certainly the case that online is cannibalizing store sales to some degree, but the most important point is that across all of its channels, Nordstrom is doing a good job of retaining customers and their spend.”