Nordstrom family eyes go-private deal—again

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Nordstrom Inc.’s founding family has notified the board of its interest in taking the company private.

The department-store chain formed a special committee to evaluate any proposal from Chief Executive Officer Erik Nordstrom and Pete Nordstrom, the company’s president, the retailer said in a statement Thursday.

The shares rose 2% in extended trading. They had closed 4.4% higher after the Nordstrom family’s interest was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

Erik and Pete Nordstrom are “probably thinking that they need to take it private to do some significant changes to the business outside of public view to get the business back on track,” Morningstar analyst David Swartz said in a phone interview. “Nordstrom has not performed well since the pandemic.”

The retailer’s plan to expand its off-price Rack business faltered in 2021 because of poor inventory planning. While that business has improved recently, sales at flagship Nordstrom stores have remained sluggish, dragging on the overall outlook. In March, the company forecast muted revenue growth this year. It also wound down operations in Canada. 

U.S. department store chains have suffered as consumers increasingly buy directly from big-name brands or online juggernauts such as Inc. Dealmaking is seen as one potential solution to the industry’s woes. Macy’s Inc. is being targeted by an activist investor for a potential takeover. Saks Fifth Avenue is mulling an acquisition of rival Neiman Marcus in order to boost its reach. Nordstrom previously tried to go private but those talks ultimately flopped in 2017.

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