While best Americans are accepting accessible for a turkey feast, followed by a day of arcade this anniversary weekend, Nordstrom Inc. is advancing for the flood of engagements that appear this time of year.
The Seattle-based specialty administration abundance is dispatch into the conjugal business for the aboriginal time in the company’s 109-year history, agilely aperture on Wednesday an in-store conjugal bazaar at its Midwestern flagship on North Michigan Avenue.
While not a big division for weddings, the holidays are one of the best accepted times of the year to get engaged. And Nordstrom is accession itself as a one-stop bazaar for bells parties, actualization 14 conjugal salons at food civic over the aing six weeks.
The amplification comes as a new bearing of cost-conscious brides, afflicted by the Abundant Recession, looks for means to accumulate bells budgets from ascent out of control. The conjugal salons additionally accommodate Nordstrom an added acquirement beck at a time aback consumers are arcade less.
In a pilot analysis at nine food in March, Nordstrom accomplished a 30 percent addition in new barter to the store, said aggregation backer Brooke White.
“This is a abundant way to accommodated new barter and appearance them what we can do and acquire their business for life,” White said.
Nordstrom joins a adventurous of mainline retailers accepting into the conjugal business. J. Crew was amid the aboriginal of the alternation food to atom an befalling to advertise bridesmaid dresses, introducing its accumulating online in 2004. Aftermost year, J. Crew opened its aboriginal free-standing conjugal bazaar in Manhattan.
White House/Black Market, a assemblage of Chico’s FAS Inc., opened its aboriginal conjugal salon on Oak Street in Chicago this summer. Urban Outfitters affairs to bare its bells abstraction online on Valentine’s Day, followed by a bricks-and-mortar abundance in the third division of 2011.
“Companies are attractive to acquisition new segments to get into aback all-embracing (industry) advance is almost flat,” said Steven Dennis, admiral of SageBerry Consulting LLC and a above Neiman Marcus action executive.
Administration stores, for the best part, conceded the conjugal salon business to specialty food and absolute retailers over the aftermost two decades. Best administration food had a adamantine time answer the conjugal salon aback added assisting businesses were cat-and-mouse for attic space.
J.C. Penney Co. bankrupt its aftermost conjugal salon in 1999. Macy’s Inc. operates conjugal salons in alone 10 of its added than 850 stores. And in 2009, Saks Fifth Avenue shut bottomward 16 of its 18 conjugal salons to accomplish allowance for added advantageous businesses.
“It is a business, to a ample degree, that administration food absolutely abdicated activity aback to the 1980s,” said Anne Brouwer, a chief accomplice at Chicago-based retail consulting close McMillan Doolittle. “Department food were the conjugal centers. You went to the administration food first. That’s area bodies started.”
If Nordstrom has its way, brides will balance the address of a full-service administration abundance after the aerial bulk of a artist salon. The banker aims to angle out from the army by marrying affordable and beautiful conjugal and bridesmaid dresses with high-end service. Nordstrom asperous the recession bigger than best high-end retailers by blurred the bulk ambit on merchandise, and it affairs to do the aforementioned with its conjugal boutique.
As for the industry affair about bistro up admired attic space, Nordstrom has addressed that botheration by abstraction into its banal rooms. Thanks to improvements in its inventory-management process, White said, the banker needs beneath accumulator amplitude at its stores.
At Nordstrom’s Chicago abundance at 520 N. Michigan Ave., the glass-encased boutique, alleged the Bells Suite, is in a bend on the third floor. The shop, amid a special-occasion dresses, has its own entrance, marble asphalt floors and billowing applicable apartment furnished with adipose basement for the bride’s accompany and family.
There are no poufy white dresses or continued trains here, although Nordstrom’s civic stylist director, Fanya Chandler, is quick to point out that bells stylists are animated to adjustment crinoline skirts and trains if the helpmate wants them. A key aspect of the bells bazaar is to apprentice what the helpmate is envisioning as her dream bells and accompany it to life, Chandler said.
“We appetite to advice her from the assurance to the honeymoon,” she said.
Each bazaar has three committed bells stylists. Apple iPads are on duke so brides can chase the Web to appearance the stylists what kinds of gowns they like (and accompany and ancestors cat-and-mouse for the helpmate to try on her clothes can absorb themselves).
Nordstrom affairs to backpack bells clothes collections from Milly, Notte by Marchesa, Sue Wong, David Meister, Nicole Miller and Tadashi. The bazaar additionally carries accession dresses, bridesmaid dresses, shoes, headpieces, adornment and foundations.
Conjugal and bridesmaid dresses ambit from $138 to $2,000. By contrast, the boilerplate bulk a helpmate spends on her clothes is $1,072, according to Conde Nast Conjugal Group. It’s accessible to absorb bags of dollars on a gown.
Nordstrom opened a bells bazaar online in March. A business attack begins in January.
Another Bells Suite is slated to accessible at Nordstrom in Oak Brook on Dec. 15. The actual food on tap to get a conjugal salon are in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Canoga Park, San Francisco and San Jose, Calif.; Coral Gables, Fla.; Paramus, N.J.; Garden City, N.Y.; Dallas, Houston and San Antonio; McLean, Va.; and Seattle.
Mollie Muse, a 30-year-old who got affiliated aftermost month, said if Nordstrom had its bazaar accessible beforehand this year she would accept accustomed it a try. Instead, she kept costs bottomward by accomplishing a lot of arcade on her own for a bells dress and allurement her bridesmaids to aces out their own atramentous cocktail dresses.
“I’ve done some accident planning before, so that helped,” said Muse. “But if I had not, I would accept gone crazy. To accept article like Nordstrom is accomplishing would accept absolutely been helpful. I bankrupt my toe the anniversary afore bells and was active a fever, but it was still the best day of my life.”
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