In the midst of all that, Nordstrom is making a bold gamble: opening not only another retail store, but a giant retail store in midtown Manhattan, one of the nation's most expensive real estate markets.
Harvard Business School historian Nancy Koehn says Nordstrom's move is a sign that — paraphrasing the great Mark Twain — the reports of retail's demise are greatly exaggerated.
"The story is more complicated than 'brick-and-mortar is over and dying,'" Koehn told Boston Public Radio Tuesday.
Koehn said Nordstrom is taking some of the elements consumers like most about online shopping — like 24-hour availability and wide selection — and incorporating them into their brick-and-mortar retail experience. The new Nordstrom store will feature 24-hour in-store pick-up for items ordered online, among other amenities.
"I think what we're seeing is ... people simply demanding more from stores than a lot of stores have historically handed customers, including better service [and] better selection," she added.