Is it Hawaii, or Have Things Changed at Nordstrom?
The headline in Tuesday’s Honolulu Advertiser said, “Sales Fall, Jobs Cut after big opening”. The article went on to say, “Hawaii’s first full-line Nordstrom department store opened at Ala Moana Center with a bang two months ago. But since then sales have fizzled somewhat and led to job cuts. They laid off 30 employees in the last month or so because of softer sales, following the abrupt shutdowns of major Hawaii carriers Aloha Airlines on March 31 and ATA Airlines on April 2.”
I am getting a bit tired of hearing that Aloha and ATA shutdowns are at the root of retailer problems. I doubt if the typical ATA traveler coming to Hawaii would be shopping at Nordstrom anyway. I think that the downturn in sales is due more to the dissapointing service we are seeing in the store.
“Since the opening, 70 other employees have quit for personal reasons or were fired for not meeting Nordstrom performance standards.” I hope that includes some of the ones that I have encountered in the store.
While I have heard some rave reviews, I have heard many more stories about a lack of expected service. Maybe our expectations were too high. Maybe their rush to hire so many people in a tight job market resulted in some “bad hires”, but whatever the reason I think that Nordstrom needs to point the finger back at themselves, and not at Aloha or ATA Airlines.
Prior to the opening of Nordstrom, I went on record as saying that stores like Macy’s would be in big trouble because of the customer service ways at Nordstrom. Since the opening I have had numerous people tell me about being ignored while shopping there. I recently travelled all floors along with a visiting client from the mainland and we were never spoken to. We left looking at each other amazed. That same day my client spent $8,400 for a Burka bag at Hermes where he got service.
I hesitate to reveal this little secret, but I now park in the covered Nordstom garage whenever going to Ala Moana. This means walking through Nordstrom on my way. In countless trips I have only had two encounters with salespeople and both were terrific. One resulted in the purchase of a $350 pair of sun glasses, and the other was close to $400 for some men’s shorts and t-shirts in the casual department. The problem here is that on both occassions I was the pro-active one engaging the salesperson. Once I started it, the service was terrific and I bought more than I intended to.