Nordstrom Finally Says 'Aloha' to Hawaii

After 15 years of broken promises and thwarted ambitions, Nordstrom earlier this month unveiled a full-line store at the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. The...

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"We customized the store, given the importance of the market and the unique location," Nordstrom said. "It definitely has a unique feel for us."

The store has a large designer offering, but Nordstrom would like more. "The challenge for us is distribution," he said. "A lot of brands have their own shops, not only at Ala Moana, but in Waikiki, a mile away. We'd like to have more designer, and we think we could sell more. There's no doubt there's customer demand for it."

A Lanvin shop on the third floor is only the second U.S. shop-in-shop for the French fashion house. There's also a St. John shop, European and American designer collections, via C with labels such as 3.1 Phillip Lim, M Missoni, Milly, Moschino Cheap & Chic, Tory Burch and Vince. Savvy, t.d.b. and Individualist departments are also found on three, along with Ebar, an espresso bar.

Much of the merchandise is skewed toward locals. The Ala Moana unit has the largest petite department of any store in the chain and the largest selection of sunglasses. There are fewer suits and more trousers and an emphasis on swimwear.

A highlight of the main (second) floor is the women's shoe area, which has 35 percent more space than Nordstrom's average shoe departments. "The shoes are pretty spectacular," Nordstrom said. "We have more of a reputation for shoes in Hawaii. It's a three-room shoe department."

Also on the second floor is an open-sell cosmetics department with a new Chanel concept, accessories and handbags. BP, young contemporary fashion, has specially designed lighting, a screen showing the latest music and fashion videos and "the apartment," a dressing room concept with a flat-screen TV, couches and fashion magazines for teens.

Lingerie, kids' wear, the Rail department for denim and casual sportswear, men's and the Marketplace Cafe are on the first level.

"This is the biggest store we've opened in several years," Nordstrom said. "We've heard that customers are excited for us to be at Ala Moana because of the niche we have between Macy's and Neiman Marcus."
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