Nordstrom reportedly hires AlixPartners to review possible Rack spinoff

Nordstrom reportedly hires AlixPartners to review possible Rack spinoff

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Nordstrom Rack in downtown Seattle
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Nordstrom has tapped the consulting group AlixPartners to help it review a potential spinoff of its off-price Nordstrom Rack business, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Representatives from Nordstrom and AlixPartners didn’t immediately respond to CNBC’s requests for comment.

A potential review at Nordstrom comes amid a bigger shakeout in the department store sector as companies including Macy’s and Kohl’s face pressure from activists to spin off faster growing online businesses from more traditional retail stores. These investors are encouraging such decisions in order to fetch higher valuations given to e-commerce retailers.

Macy’s is working with AlixPartners to review its e-commerce operations, after activist group Jana Partners urged the company to separate its digital arm from its brick-and-mortar stores. Kohl’s has similarly been pressured by activist Engine Capital to consider the same.

That’s after Saks Fifth Avenue spun its e-commerce operations off from its retail stores earlier this year, and executives have since touted the strategy as a successful play. Saks.com is now reportedly preparing for an initial public offering in 2022.

Nordstrom, meantime, has been struggling to grow sales back to pre-pandemic levels, while some of its peers have already achieved that. In the three-month period ended Oct. 30, sales at Nordstrom Rack fell 8% from 2019, while revenue at its namesake department store rose 3% on a two-year basis.

Chief Executive Erik Nordstrom told analysts on an earnings call that the company had been engaging external consultants to look for ways to improve Rack’s performance and profitability.

“We are not satisfied at all with our Rack business as clearly our recovery is lagging what we think it should be,” he said in late November.

Nordstrom shares closed Monday down less than 1% at $20.10, having fallen roughly 36% year to date. That brings the company’s market cap to about $3.2 billion.

Read the full report from Bloomberg here.

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