A reported change of ownership is not something GlobalData retail analyst Neil Saunders’ believes will remedy all of Nordstrom’s issues seeing as many of the same people who oversaw the company’s struggles of shrinking sales, ceded market shares, closure of Canadian operations and the ‘chronic underperformance’ of the off-price division of Nordstrom Rack, will stay in charge.

However, he is keen to add that this move could give Nordstrom more “breathing space to make investments and take a “longer view on how to evolve the proposition.”

The report that Nordstrom plans to go private comes seven years after it made a similar yet unsuccessful attempt to take control of the business. The family failed to raise the capital it needed and their offer was rejected as too low.

“This time the company valuation is lower, but capital markets are tighter, and the cost of capital is far greater. So, many obstacles remain to the successful execution of a deal,” explained Saunders.

Saunders warns that the company needs to be careful to not “laden itself with any debt” as it would hinder any signs of recovery.

Saunders attributes Nordstrom’s decrease in value to the struggles it faced over the years increasing pressure from investors.

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Although causing “pain” to the founding family, it also seems to have “rekindled their desire to take the chain private where they can operate away from the daily scrutiny of markets,” he said.

As the competition for US retailer Macy’s heats up, who recently rejected a $5.8bn proposal for privatisation due to financing concerns, Saunders explains the Nordstrom family would face a “nagging doubt” that a similar fate could await their company if targeted by investors.

“This would be an anathema to their general ethos of doing business and by taking the company private they can safeguard its legacy,” adds the retail analyst.

Nordstrom did not return request for comment when approached by Just Style.

In November, Nordstrom reported a 6.8% decline in revenue in its third quarter ended 28 October 2023 versus the same period in fiscal 2022, due to uncertainty and softening in consumer spending.