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Nordstrom Trying Out Blue Nile

The retailer is becoming something of a brick-and-mortar incubator for brands birthed on the Web.

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TRYING OUT: Nordstrom is becoming something of a brick-and-mortar incubator for brands birthed on the Web. The Seattle-based retailer carries online men’s wear brand Bonobos in 80 stores and online footwear specialist Sole Society’s products in 37 stores, and has recently started showing jewelry e-tailer Blue Nile’s merchandise at its downtown Seattle location.

A Nordstrom spokeswoman said, “This is currently a one-store test between our two companies with the mutual goal of allowing area customers to immerse themselves in the world of bridal — gowns, accessories and engagement rings — at the Nordstrom flagship store.” At the store, customers can peruse Blue Nile’s engagement ring offerings in the comfort of the wedding suite and receive guidance from Blue Nile’s noncommissioned diamond and jewelry consultants, but they can’t purchase the rings until they log on to Blue Nile’s Web site.

Nordstrom and Blue Nile wouldn’t comment on the Blue Nile program expanding to other stores. However, Blue Nile chief merchandising officer Julie Yoakum told the Seattle Times that the hope is to grow the concept after it is tested in the Seattle location. The Blue Nile merchandise could be displayed in as many as 17 more Nordstrom units in the near future.

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