Here's a Sign Nordstrom Can Weather the Ivanka Trump Kerfuffle

Retailer gets high score, yet again, in customer loyalty

Author: Andria Cheng

February 17, 2017

Luxury retailer Nordstrom has been in the headlines this month after its decision to drop Ivanka Trump’s fashion label. The move sparked an angry tweet from President Trump and boycott threats from Trump supporters, but a recent survey showed the upscale emporium is well-positioned to weather the storm.

In a December 2016 Market Force Information survey of US consumers’ fashion retailer preferences among a list of 67 clothing retailers, Nordstrom scored not only better than it did in 2016, but it also ranked highest in customer loyalty for the fifth year, beating Dillard’s and T.J. Maxx in second and third places. The company’s off-price discount chain, Nordstrom Rack, came in sixth place, above retailers like H&M, Target, Banana Republic and Macy’s.

The Seattle-based retailer also ranked highest for store atmosphere, value for money spent and ease of finding what’s needed.

Market Force doesn’t have data that ties its customer loyalty score, which measures both customers’ satisfaction and their likelihood to recommend a retailer, with a retailer’s financial performance.

Regardless of how big of a role customer loyalty score may play, Nordstrom has indeed looked to be a sales outperformer, at least in the struggling department store space. While Nordstrom isn’t immune from challenges facing the broader retail sector amid shifting consumer behavior to buy more via mobile devices and favor experiences over material goods, it’s outperformed the department store sector every quarter over the past seven years on a same-store sales basis, according to Retail Metrics President Ken Perkins.

Perkins said he doesn’t expect much impact from the decision to pull the Trump merchandise. Any modest sales declines from potential boycotts from Trump supporters will likely be offset by anti-Trump shoppers in support of the decision, he said.

And despite President Trump’s claim that his daughter was “treated unfairly” by Nordstrom, data shows sales performance of the brand has indeed contributed to the retailer’s decision. Her brand saw online sales drop 26% in January following declines in H2 2016, including a Q4 decline at Nordstrom, the brand’s top online merchant, according to Slice Intellience, which analyzed online email receipts from a panel of 4.4 million US online shoppers.