store openings

Nordstrom Rack Preview: Rife With Gems, But Get There Early

After much anticipation, Nordstrom Rack opens tomorrow at 9 a.m. We joined a small throng of shoppers for the press preview this morning to scope out Union Square’s latest addition. Though this is the chain’s first foray into Manhattan, don’t be expecting a full-price department store to be launching anytime soon. (Asked about the progress toward a Nordstrom store, the company’s president replied, “There is no progress.” And we all heaved a collective sigh … )

The basement-level store is fully stocked with 25,000 pairs of shoes, 2,000 pairs of denim, 2,400 handbags, and 1,000 watches, all for 30 to 70 percent off original Nordstrom prices. Accessories, beauty products, and lingerie fill the space to the left of the escalator, womenswear and juniors’ racks take up the central floor, tall shelves of shoes flank the cash registers, and menswear wraps around the back wall. Each rack is labeled with the brand and its price range: “Michael Kors, $19.97 to $69.97; compare at $69.50 to $179.50.” The checkout area was a lovely sight: Nineteen cashiers will regularly be churning through customers, and there will be 28 working for the opening.

Overall, we were impressed with the selection and prices. The beauty section is packed with the likes of Bliss and Stila, the lingerie range includes Elle Macpherson, Calvin Klein, and Chantelle, and there were stacks of sunglasses from Prada and Fendi. When we were growing up in the ’burbs, Rack was known for its shoe selection. Here, the brands are on par with DSW down the block, but there are some gems in the mix. We spied Burberry plaid flats for $199.90 (originally $395), gray Cynthia Vincent cutout boots for $139.90 (originally $325), Stuart Weitzman platform sandals for $159.90 (originally $450), and strappy white satin Badgley Mischka wedding heels for $99.90 (originally $190). The handbag racks yielded lots of L.A.M.B. and Rebecca Minkoff (like a studded satchel for $259.97, originally $595). Women can browse a slew of dresses from Nanette Lepore, Max Studio, BCBG Max Azria, and D&G, and men will find plenty of choices in the suiting department from Hugo Boss, Dolce & Gabbana, Joseph Abboud, and Ben Sherman (jackets for $339.97; originally $695). Plus, there’s an on-site tailor for fittings, a rare off-price perk.

Our favorite finds of the morning: 7 for all Mankind jeans for $119.97 (originally $245); a D&G trench for $129.97 (originally $535), slouchy See by Chloe cotton cardigans for $109.97 (originally $335.50), and a gray leather Michael Kors jacket for $159.90 (originally $395). Our advice: Get there early. Like all off-price chains, it’s only as good as its newest arrivals. We predict that more than a few women will be calling in late to work tomorrow.

Nordstrom Rack, One Union Square South, 14th St., at Broadway; M–S (9–10), Su (11–7).

Nordstrom Rack vs. the Off-Pricers [NYM]

Nordstrom Rack Preview: Rife With Gems, But Get There Early