Management Shuffle at Nordstrom Inc.

Nordstrom Inc., in the midst of a multiyear turnaround effort, has triggered a trio of top-level management changes.

Jamie Nordstrom has been appointed chief merchandising officer, filling a position that has been vacant for a few months since Teri Bariquit retired after 37 years at the company. Nordstrom previously served as the company’s chief stores officer, and is the cousin of Erik and Pete Nordstrom, respectively the chief executive officer and president/chief brand officer, who are brothers.

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Throughout his tenure, Jamie Nordstrom has held leadership positions across several areas of the business, including merchandising, store operations, and He will continue to serve as a member of the company’s executive team and will report to Pete Nordstrom.

Fanya Chandler
Fanya Chandler

In the other key changes, Fanya Chandler was appointed president, Nordstrom stores, to oversee the strategy and execution of the company’s Nordstrom department stores. Chandler has held several leadership positions across the organization during her nearly 32 years with Nordstrom, and most recently served as senior vice president and Southwest regional manager. She will join the company’s executive team and report to Pete Nordstrom.

Gemma Lionello was appointed to the newly-created role of president, Nordstrom Rack, a role in which she will oversee the strategy and execution of the company’s Nordstrom Rack off-price stores. While Nordstrom said the position is newly created, a few years ago Geevy Thomas held the title.

Rack in recent seasons has been slumping but Erik Nordstrom has on several occasions stressed that the new strategy is to focus on “great brands at great prices” that are more recognizable to customers, and expand the Rack with new stores in key markets. So far this year, Rack has opened nine stores and will open another 10.

Commenting on Jamie Nordstrom’s shift to chief merchandising officer, Pete Nordstrom said in a statement, “Our merchandising organization is the backbone of Nordstrom, and our teams are exceptional at providing best-in-class service and a relevant, inspiring product offering for our customers. Jamie has experience working across nearly every aspect of our business and has held broad-based leadership roles in merchandising, stores and digital over the span of his 28-year career with the company. We’re confident Jamie’s proven track record and experience will bring us even closer to our customers as he leads our merchandising organization into the future.”

On the other executive changes, Pete Nordstrom commented, “We’re fortunate to have such exceptional leaders in Fanya and Gemma to help us continue to drive our Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack businesses forward, and these changes leverage their tremendous talent. Fanya is a proven leader who has taken on numerous complex assignments throughout her Nordstrom career, including growing our digital selling and styling programs and overseeing Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack stores in the Southwest region.”

Throughout her 35-year tenure with the company, Lionello has served in numerous executive positions, including general merchandise manager, and spent 11 years working within the retailer’s Nordstrom Rack business. She most recently worked as senior vice president and regional manager of the company’s Northeast region. She will join the company’s executive team and will report to Pete Nordstrom.

Gemma Lionello
Gemma Lionello

“Gemma understands the core of our Rack offering: how we deliver exceptional customer service while offering customers the very best products at a terrific price,” Erik Nordstrom said in a statement. “Her depth of experience leading teams within our stores and merchandising organizations will be critical as we build on the positive momentum we’ve seen in our Rack business and continue to execute on our strategy.”

The Seattle-based Nordstrom reported second-quarter net earnings of $137 million, or earnings per diluted share of 84 cents, and earnings before interest and taxes of $192 million. Excluding the wind-down of Nordstrom’s Trunk Club men’s styling service, EBIT on the adjusted basis came to $210 million.

That compares to net earnings of $126 million, or EPS of 77 cents, and EBIT of $202 million in the year-ago period.

Though sales continued to decline in this year’s second quarter, which ended July 29, the slippage wasn’t as steep as the first quarter. Net sales in the second quarter decreased 8.3 percent compared to a decrease of 11.6 percent in the first quarter, reflecting sequential improvement in sales at both Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack, the company indicated. It should be noted that Nordstrom’s second-quarter sales were negatively impacted by the wind-down of its stores in Canada and a change in the timing of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. Nordstrom calculated that excluding those two changes, sales would have been down only about 4 percent. The company’s shares closed up 1.5 percent to $14.50.

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