Grand opening of Nordstrom 57th StreetGrand opening of Nordstrom 57th StreetGrand opening of Nordstrom 57th StreetGrand opening of Nordstrom 57th Street

The new Nordstrom women's flagship in New York City's 57th Street lets the light shine in and strives to connect to the urban energy. The seven-level, 320,000ft2 (29,729m2) women’s flagship fits the mold with those Nordstrom definers: the open, flexible floor plan, extended sight lines, breadth of merchandise from Topshop to Saint Laurent, and the vigilant customer service. At the forefront, fashion mannequins are theatrically suspended from the ceiling, high above the two atriums flanking the main entrance and leading to the lower levels.

The theatre continues with a Christian Louboutin space housing an exclusive capsule collection of handbags, footwear and travel accessories. There’s also a graffitied and Thomas Burberry TB-monogrammed Burberry format with exclusives and runway pieces; a “Nordstrom x Nike” shop with limited-edition Nike products intermixed with Megbabe beauty products.

Beauty is on the main level. There are seven food and beverage options, and return and pickup areas and charging kiosks are sprinkled throughout, obvious to the eye. There are designer shops but they’re not “hard” shops, enabling the Nordstrom team to readily enlarge or shrink brand presentations based on selling trends. Some rugs anchor things down but they’re movable, as are other shop components.

Fluid” is the feeling on 57th Street, married with the Nordstrom sense of restraint. It’s not logo-ed out. Signage identifying brands and designers is discreet. The opening of a Manhattan flagship is a seminal event for the $15.5bn Nordstrom, after decades of first rejecting the notion of operating in the city and dealing with all its hassles and high costs, then switching gears and taking decades more to find the right site and plan and build it. Nordstrom’s Manhattan project is the company’s most expensive today, said to be well over the initial $500mn reported. It’s also Nordstrom’s second-largest location after the Seattle flagship, and not surprisingly, New York is expected to be the retailer’s highest volume store.

The retailer’s market strategy entails the opening of Nordstrom Local service hubs. Nordstrom Local, as a new concept, is largely unfamiliar to consumers but since two of them were unveiled recently in Manhattan. The Nordstrom Locals provide pickups, returns, alterations, stylists and other services, and strive to get the retailer closer to customers, get them more engaged, provide faster deliveries, and smoother shopping experiences, channel to channel.