Bruce Nordstrom, Who Helped Turn His Family-Run Company Into One of US Largest Apparel Retailers, Dies at 90

By Trisha Andrada

May 20, 2024 04:21 AM EDT

American billionaire Bruce Nordstrom, the former chairman of Nordstrom's department store chain, has died at the age of 90.

During his 40 years at the helm of Nordstrom Inc., he helped expand his family's department store chain into an upscale brand in the United States.

From a tiny shoe store put up by Swedish immigrant John Nordstrom in Seattle in 1901, the company has grown into a leading fashion retailer in the US.

The exterior of a Nordstrom department store on March 03, 2023 in Austin, Texas.
(Photo : Brandon Bell/Getty Images)

Sons of Bruce Nordstrom Confirm the American Billionaire's Death

His sons, Erik and Pete, the company's current CEO and president, respectively, confirmed the news. In a statement, they said their father passed away at his home on Saturday, the Associated Press reported.

In 1963, Bruce Nordstrom's father, Lloyd Nordstrom, promoted him to president of the company his grandfather had co-founded. He was 30 then and oversaw a regional chain of shoe shops.

According to TIME, Nordstrom and his cousins James and John took over the firm in 1968 and became co-chairmen.

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Bruce Nordstrom and His Efforts Throughout the Company's Growth

The Seattle-based retailer eventually expanded into a nationwide network of department stores renowned for its vast product assortment, friendly customer service, and generous return policy.

Building customer loyalty was an important aspect of Nordstrom's plan, which included making the stores more welcoming. The dressing rooms were large, the salespeople were well-trained, and real baby grand pianos played music at numerous locations.

The department shops had up to 50% more salespeople than their rivals, which reduced customers' wait times and boosted sales volume.

By 2006, when Bruce Nordstrom left as chairman, the company's full-line shops and discount sites had brought in $8.6 billion in sales. The most recent fiscal year saw revenues of about $15 billion for the corporation.

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