Nordstrom: Weak sales prompting closure of Circle Centre store

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A top Nordstrom Inc. executive said Thursday morning that the company chose to close the downtown Indianapolis store after sales plummeted when it opened a north-side location in 2008.

Nordstrom President Erik Nordstrom flew in from the Seattle-based company’s headquarters to notify the downtown store’s 176 employees that the store would close on July 31.

IBJ was first to report the store's closing early Thursday morning.

In addition to its store at The Fashion Mall at Keystone Crossing, the upscale retailer will open its off-price Nordstrom Rack store in September at the nearby Rivers Edge shopping center at 82nd Street and Dean Road.

Between the two stores, 97 jobs should be available to workers at the Circle Centre mall location, Nordstrom said. A severance package will be available to employees who aren’t offered jobs but stay until the downtown store closes.

Sales have fallen by roughly half since the Keystone Crossing store opened, a decline company officials did not anticipate, Nordstrom said.

“That really surprised us,” he said. “We have multiple stores in many markets.”

In addition, he said the downtown store is in need of a remodel, and the company wasn’t prepared to invest the money in it given the disappointing sales. The lease for the 210,000-square-foot store, which opened in 1995, is up for renewal this year.

Having a second Indianapolis Nordstrom was such a big concern for the mall developers back in the 1990s that they extracted an unusual concession from the company: that it would wait at least five years before opening another Indianapolis-area store.

The city originally enticed Nordstrom to open in the $319 million mall by offering a new building and tenant improvements at no upfront cost to the retailer. How much Nordstrom pays in rent is not spelled out in publicly available documents.

The downtown store opened well in terms of sales but couldn’t sustain momentum. Sales peaked in 1997, said Nordstrom, noting that convention visitors who shop at Circle Centre aren't picking up enough of the slack for downtown residents and workers.

The Keystone Crossing store is performing much better, Nordstrom said.

“Given the mass of retail in that Keystone/Castleton area, there’s just a lot more retail there,” he said. “We do better when there’s a lot of retail around us.”

Nordstrom said the downtown store’s closing is an isolated decision and not part of any larger plan to shut other locations.

“It’s very rare for us to close a store,” he said.

The official decision to shut the Circle Centre store wasn’t made until about a week ago, Nordstrom said.

Founded in 1901, Nordstrom has 214 stores in 29 states.

Its only Indiana stores are in Indianapolis.



  • You Want The Obvious
    You'll Get the Obvious

    Hey howz bout a Gigantic Goodwill Store...sounds really classy huh?

    Amazing how great stores cease to exist when the almighty dollar exacts elsewhere? Or does it?

    Guraranteed when the prices are slashed gettin near closing time....you;ll see many coming on down once again!!!! Oh the excuse of dee poor ole ecomony...right right the mascara snake fast and bulbous...tight too!

    Poor whiny Hoosiers who hate retail only when the cheapies are ripe for pickins full throttle!

    Long live Tescos!
  • Cheap Folks
    The inside joke at Nordstrom in the late 90's was that it would have been better to open a Nordstrom Rack store in Indy to flush all the garbage out of Chicago. No suprises here. This is one of the same reasons I got out of the clothing business altogether ten years ago after having a fairly successful career in the city. Unfortunately the people who complain the loudest about Nordstrom leaving are the same ones who complain about the prices and are too cheap to shop there in the first place. Put up and deliver or shut up. Perhaps the Circle Center Mall should open a Walmart Super Center to occupy the big empty space.
  • Fault
    One can not blame city government for Nordstrom closing, but one can blame them for not getting in front of the issue if they knew and doing whatever they could to incent Nordstrom to remain open downtown. I criticize that all we see is reaction or no action, rather than the preferable proaction. Too much effort has been placed into making the downtown a destination location and a competitive convention location for someone in government not to know this was going on... Even if they couldn't stop the exodus, perhaps they could have deferred it until after the holiday season and the Superbowl.
    It is hard to blame Simon too. Keystone needed an anchor store too. Simon likely knew the result but had to make a very difficult decision, ensure the health of an extremely successful mall, or help maintain the image of a thriving downtown and keep a high value tenant in a spot that was not yielding the tenant projected results. Tough spot to be in probably.

    Now the downtown mall is unanchored on one side, which is bad for all the smaller tenants. I'm sure Simon has a short list of anchors to go to, but Nordstrom was pretty prestigous
  • Reality
    Wow. This discussion went down hill quick. I guess the regular posters at the IndyStar found a new outlet for their rants.

    I don't even know where to begin...parking? safety? "causcasisn (note spelling) people living" downtown?

    Are we even talking about the same downtown? First off, most of the ridiculous comments posted offer no rational viewpoint as to why Nordstorm closed. Second, if you are someone that thinks parking and safety are major concerns in downtown Indy, then any urban environment is no place for you. You and the City are better off without each other.
  • DUMB
    Yes, because Nordstrom, a public company, should continue to lose money in order to keep you as a customer that only shopped there during clearance sales anyway! Downtown Indy is not conducive for medium / high end retail. You had to wonder why Ayres wanted no part of the mall when they first opened? One can only hope that there will be enough traffic to keep Carson's open now. I for one will be shopping at Nordstrom & Saks at the Fashion Mall.
  • IKEA?
    Hard to see conventioneers packing a lot of IKEA purchases onto their flights home. The baggage check fees will probably be more expensive than the purchases. Has anyone ever seen an urban IKEA w/o a huge surface parking lot in front?

    Yes, everyone should've expected that the northside Nordstrom would lead to the closing of the downtown store, but is that the fault of City leaders? Did the City grant any incentives in connection with the opening of the northside store? If not, how do you blame them for Nordstrom's decision?

    If you want to talk about policing the mall area and other such issues, that's a different story, but once the northside store opened, this news was only a matter of time.
    • no white expo
      no white expo, why a black expo? What's it do for our city other than crime? No spending, and keeps away urban shoppers. Put in a high end dept. store, crack down on the criminals and continue black expo only if it brings a profit and produces NO crime.
    • Hmmmm
      Nordstrom was not naive enough to think that when they opened up north they would not potentially face the possibility that the north store would draw off enough customers that they might need to close the downtown store.
      Anyone, including city leaders, who is involved in negotiating retail contracts can't afford to be naive about how opening a north store could effect the health of a downtown store. If they are anything less than a retail contract expert with the health of the city center at heart, they should not be negotiating retail contracts.
      I agree that they should close the north store and keep the downtown store but that won't happen, so we now need to look for new anchors. It must NOT be something as ubiquitous as Target; it must be something that visitors don't have in their town/city and preferably something that is unique to Indianapolis shoppers as well. IKEA sounds good to me.
      Let this be a learning opportunity for the city in regard to the expertise required in negotiating contracts and in the feeling of safety required by potential shoppers. Yes, the downtown MUST have more on-foot policing. Parking, in my view, is not an issue of concern, as it is already incredibly cheap, available and accessible.
    • Should have seen it
      It bothers me that Mr. Nordstrom speaks of having multiple Nordstom stores as "not unusual", when in fact it is in the Midwest, and in cities of the same MSA size as Indianapolis. Yes, there are many Nordstrom/Nordstrom Rack combos, but few duel Nordstroms. In fact, if you search the Midwest states, there are some cities and states that have no Nordstrom at all. I would say the Keystone opening was planned with the intention of closing downtown. There is absolutely no way they "didn't anticipate" the loss in sales downtown with the Keystone opening. When you go to college and take retail classes, you learn in the first year the different patterns of pull a store will have on a geographic region. Simon knew, Nordstrom knew. The only people not knowing would be the hapless politicians and groups downtown.

      Everyone is worried about the Superbowl. Don't. Worry about the convention business. We just lost a huge anchor store at a Simon mall. It is a store that many places in the country do not have, so it was a natural draw to conventioneers. It needs replaced quickly with another high quality anchor. Classic mall design demands this for it to be an effective shopping space.

      It is not excusable for this to have been a surprise on the community. It is not excusable it will happen six months before a potential Superbowl. It is poor city management.
    • Nordstrom Closing
      Part of me can't help but think the mini "riot" and shootings outside Nordstrom during last summer's Black Expo had Simon, city, and Nordstrom folks squirming. I thought then that media images of the mayhem with Nordstrom in the background were a bad sign.

      The Circle Centre Mall jewel is tarnished, but is not beyond polishing. Things change, and if they don't change, they need to change, or face failure. Like it or not, here's a chance for change.

      There are bigger issues. PC or not, the aforementioned IBE events clear out downtown of serious shoppers and spenders for weeks at a time, and the bad vibe continues as young punks and creepy beggars scare away suburbanites on weekend nights. In many big cities, residents and visitors take it all in, with varying degrees, as part of the urban fabric. Indy is really not all that urban.

      Circle Centre Mall remains, for the most part, a downtown success, but this is an odd case where part of the price of success -- is failure.

      I hope for the best, but cannot imagine what single entity would take over that huge space, dream as you may about putting in a Target, Trader Joe's, or IKEA -- ain't happening.

      Who'd spend the money? Too late for a casino. Despite touting downtown as a place for tourists and conventioneers, some city fathers and mothers opted to put the casinos in the sticks. I will never, ever, understand that one. Bart Peterson hit the nail on the head when he wanted to pay for Lucas Oil with a downtown casino. Anyone want to rethink that now?

      Another option, if there's money and motivation to do so, is move those aging movie theatres on the white elephant fourth floor to the street, and add screens that show indy films, something that might attract urbanites. Just a thought.

      And people, don't get in a tizzy about how embarassing it will be for Super Bowl visitors. Whatever's done, please don't try and gloss over an empty storefront with something temporary, like downtown Detroit did when they hosted the Super Bowl. That only screams desperation, and I don't think we're that desperate.
    • Terrified
      You could be hit by a stray bullet. That Mall needs to close when the sun goes down
    • Sad News
      The city must ... must enforce a strict curfew, enforce a strict policy against loitering, remove beggars from street corners, improve lighting, enforce noise ordinances on excessively loud motorcycles, and increase police patrols. I live downtown and feel safe without exception. Suburbanites and visitors don't necessarily feel the same. Downtown's quality of life is unequaled (on the whole) in the entire metro area - I wouldn't live anywhere else - but the city's crown jewel is in serious peril unless political and civic leaders address the unsupervised urban youth issue. Countless problems stem from this concern. Heck, when did you last hear of a shooting outside Clay Terrace? Frankly, the city needs moneyed, causcasian people living, visiting, and shopping in its urban core. Let us be honest with ourselves, face the facts, and turn this dissapointment into an opportunity for success.
    • I can see why
      I can think of no reason I would go downtown to shop when I can do it elsewhere.
    • Parking
      I agree with CW. Indianapolis has the cheapest parking of any large city I've ever visited. Parking is plentiful. Granted the Mayor is trying to screw that up by giving our parking away to a private company, but hey, that's the Ballard way.
    • It took time
      for the Keystone store to cannibalize the original downtown Nordstrom's. But it probably was destiny. While Nordstrom's downtown was an attraction for visitors, it did not have enough high dollar spenders in the d/t and southside population to warrant giving up sales to the Keystone store, which has the Carmel and Fishers customers.
    • Bummer
      I, for one, will never shop at Nordstrom again.
      • For Sure
        One thing is for sure: The building will be vacant for the Super Bowl (if there is one). It will take months just to get a building permit to change the tenant.
      • parking, et al
        This is the easiest city in the world to park in people! If you can't find a spot for $1/hour outside, then park underground for $1.75 for 3 hours!! My vote is for Target and Whole Foods to split the space. Both are a better fit for downtown currently.

        Downtown needs more density and we need to attract MUCH better conventions, then maybe higher end retail will come back.
      • thoughts
        downtown is a great place but there are some great points being brought up here. parking is not the greatest, if you are planning on carrying items, or elderly, or handicapped, it is especially bad. and it seems to be in the forefront now, but predatory towing and ticketing practices have long plagued downtown parking, as well as broad ripple. when you receive a parking ticket timestamped at 8:57am already typed up, printed and posted on your car for a spot that is free until 9am, you know there is a problem. this has happened to me. and yes i arrived at the car at 9am and the meter maid...err nazi, was nowhere to be found. and someone made a great point about the thugs, circle centre looks like a bad rap video on the weekends. sometimes groups of kids walking (or wobbling i should say as their pants are beneath their rear end) 6 or 7 across makes it hard to even walk through sometimes.
      • Why not close the fashion mall?
        Why not close the one at the fashion mall you already have Saks 5th Avenue there!! I mean I never have seen so many Nordstroms located so close to one another!! That's the problem!! Whatever they should of thought of that before they opened a second one. They probably don't want to pay the higher rent downtown that's the real reason!!
      • Parking is easy compared to other downtown areas
        Ugh... that is the problem with Indianapolis. Any time I hear someone complain that parking in our downtown is awful, I want to scream! If you think parking in our downtown is bad, then you either fall into one of two categories: 1. You are just someone that wants to park right in front of the door and for free. OR 2. You have never been to any other downtown area (urban downtown... not Carmel) in the U.S.

        Parking in an urban, downtown core will never be free! And it is certainly cheaper here than in other cities!

        If you want free parking in front of the door, that's fine, stay in the suburbs... but quit saying that parking in downtown needs to be free or cheaper! Spots need to turnover so that others visiting or shopping can find parking... and not see your car sitting there for 8 hours of the day. And actually, parking is abundunt in our downtown, you just have to look for it and/or be willing to walk more than 10 feet from your car to your destination.
        • IKEA & Trader Joe's
          It's fun to consider the possibilities. I would love to see IKEA move into that space. And there's definitely a need for a grocery store on that side of downtown. Maybe IKEA & Trader Joe's could share the space. Dare to dream!
        • Need POLICE
          A lot of the problems with control of certain segments of the homeless and "thug" populations would be controlled with one prominent change in the evening downtown landscape: on-foot police patrols. There should be FAR more than there currently are. It's vital to the maintenance and improvement of the quality of the downtown experience -- most especially with the quickly looming Super Bowl -- if it happens, that is.
        • Spot ON
          NYC knows mix-use is more economical than no use.
        • Ok w/ closing
          i live downtown, and i love living downtown. i am ok w/ Nordstrom closing. i feel the city leaders have done more harm than good in attracting people to come downtown. and circle centre is turning into a complete dump. too many unsupervised thugs walking around, too much crime in that area. its sad bc they city does nothing about it or they will be labeled 'racists'.
          one thing downtown does need is a target/walmart, etc. we dont have any stores like that. i dont want to take anything away from family owned places downtown, they are great alone mass ave...but to get to a superstore takes like a 15 min drive. nordstrom is just the tipping point, you'll see the same w other stores soon. untill the city and our 'leaders' wake up and start doing things to make the city attractive instead of doing everything for monetary purposes to force people to not come downtown nothing will change. and to make it a better place, WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE THUGS!!!
          • Get Rid of the Bums
            Can we do something about all the bums downtown? If you walk Illinois from Maryland to Ohio, I bet you see at least three on every corner, and a couple more in the middle of the block.
          • Nordstrom
            Make that corporate welfare, paid by the taxpayers.
          • Nordstrom
            How much taxpayer welfare will be paid back?
            • Unfriendly Downtown
              How could Nordstrom's thrive when going downtown is so unpleasant? Parking is easy at Keystone at the Crossing, almost impossible downtown. Parking continues to be a nightmare downtown and the City has made it even worse by installing those expensive parking meters. The City is driving away potential customers, not just from Nordstrom's, but from all businesses. You want customers? Provide outlying low-cost parking and FREE downtown shuttle buses. Other cities do that, why not Indianapolis?
            • Drug Store - Market Reply
              I know it's a pain not having a market or drugstore on that side of downtown. I lived on Georgia for a couple years. However, a building like that will not cater to the small amount of people who live there. They want to target workers, tourists and people specifically going downtown to shop. No money in Advil and fresh fruit. As cool as that would be, there's not enough downtown living to sustain. People make fun of the target idea, but that could work. They wanted one at Market, but it fell through. There is a target in Times Square, but for some reason we would get ragged on for building one. Some of the biggest ads in NYC are target.
              • Profit
                What it will come down to is what will make the most profit for the Simons. If that is leasing the current structure they will do so, but I do hope with this space so close to their headquarters and all the potential it has, that they recreate that Block!
              • shady
                Wasn't there a contract that Nordstrom signed with the city saying they wouldn't open another Nordstrom to compete with the one downtown? And then they did? And then they're surprised by this? Shady.

                I vote for a Super Target.
              • Tear Down?
                Tear down? Such and American Idea! Re-purpose or adapt like they do in most of the world outside of the Midwest.
              • Nordstrom's
                There goes the neighborhood. We'll probably see a Target go into that space, or maybe a Dollar General.
              • Agreed
                And wouldn't a smaller Fresh Market, or something similar along with your suggestions, be a nice touch for the downtown residents. A "whole paycheck" food market with their salad bars comes to mind too. Yeah, that location is too important for the whole downtown, not to find a good replacement. A drugstore (as you said) is sorely needed on that end of downtown too. Problem is, too many retailers opt for too large of a space, and their sales can't support it!
              • Great Idea
                Great idea Dtown Resident. I suggest a drug store, maybe a market and other retail stores that make living downtown easier.
              • Completely new block
                Why not tear down that block and rebrand it, similar to how Greenwood mall did a few years ago with shops,restaurants, and bars accessible from the inside and outside. They can offer more of a downtown style with shops that have street level entrances, but are connected to the mall. They could also make it two stories putting an outdoor plaza with the same concept. Lets make even more of a draw downtown with new ideas, not just a entire block consisting of a department store.

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                1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

                2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

                3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

                4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

                5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.