Nordstrom takes stake in four Asos style manufacturers to win youthful consumers

A woman is seen shopping on ASOS the online fashion store on a laptop.

Dinendra Haria | SOPA Images | LightRocket | Getty Images

Nordstrom said Sunday it has acquired a minority stake in four apparel brands owned by the online U.K. fashion house Asos.

The brands — Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and the activewear label HIIT — all target younger consumers in their 20s. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.

Nordstrom President and Chief Brand Officer Pete Nordstrom said he views the collaboration as a way to redefine the business model of a wholesaler, such as Nordstrom, working with a retailer. He also expects it to open up the possibility of further strategic partnerships in the future.

Although Asos will retain operational and creative control of the Topshop brands, Nordstrom will have the exclusive retail rights for Topshop and Topman across North America.

“Bringing the Asos brands, including Topshop and Topman, to our customers allows us to create newness and excitement,” Pete Nordstrom said in a statement.

The department store has been the exclusive distributer of Topshop and Topman in the United States since 2012. Nordstrom will now be the only brick-and-mortar location for these brands globally.

Starting this fall, customers will also be able to pick up online orders from Asos at all Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack locations, the companies said.

Asos acquired Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT in February. The brands were put on the block after Arcadia Group, the British retail empire that had been run by the billionaire Philip Green for 18 years, filed for bankruptcy protection late last year. Lockdowns initiated throughout 2020 due to the pandemic dealt a huge blow to Arcadia, which operated hundreds of stores. Asos, meanwhile, had an online-only business model.

Nordstrom is looking for ways to keep its existing customers coming back frequently to shop, while also reaching people who have never visited its stores or website before. It has an opportunity coming out of the pandemic to do so — especially as many people head back to work and back to school, and require brand new wardrobes.

The company’s hope is that by exclusively offering merchandise from Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge and HIIT, Nordstrom will reach a younger generation of shoppers who have growing spending power.

It could use a boost, too. Nordstrom has yet to surpass its pre-pandemic revenue. For the three-month period ended May 1, its sales were down 13% relative to 2019. Elevated labor and shipping costs, as well as supply chain disruptions, have added further pressure on its business.

Nordstrom shares are up about 15% year to date. The company has a market cap of $5.7 billion.

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