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Nordstrom One Ups Neiman, Teams With Topshop

Topshop and Nordstrom announced live on CNBC they are teaming up. While Sir Philip Green has already put a stake in U.S. ground he intends to continue bringing British fashion to the U.S. in the form of 15 to 20 flagship stores over time.

Nordstrom bag
Donato Sardella | WireImage | Getty Images
Nordstrom bag

Nordstrom will bring us a taste of the fast fashion retailer starting this fall. In September, 14 Nordstrom stores will roll out the Topshop brand, including some exclusive products. Fast fashion is here to stay and the retailers who cannot keep up have reason to worry about those who can offer fresh product on a weekly basis (Zara, H&M, and Topshop). No surprise that group continues to beat expectations in a tough environment.

Interesting timing, as only yesterday the uber high-end Neiman Marcus announced a deal to collaborate with Target on product from 24 designers. The uber high-end luxury retailer and the discounter combination doesn’t exactly sound like a perfect match however. Both companies suggest crossover in their customer base is an opportunity.

For Target, being associated with the true high-end seems like a win as it looks to move up the food chain. It has already done this in the form of exclusive offerings from Missoni, for example. For Neiman Marcus, the pros may not be as obvious. Rather, one would question whether or not it may tarnish the brand.

The Topshop-Nordstrom venture seems to be more of an obvious win for both retailers. For Sir Philip Greene, it is a quick way to build brand awareness with one of the strongest retailers around. After all, while Topshop has already landed in New York City, Chicago, and Vegas, a larger flagship rollout takes time.

There seems to be plenty in it for Nordstrom, as well. First, the fast fashion gives consumers a reason to visit stores more frequently. Second, the merchandise should bring in the 15- to 30-year-old shopper sweet spot. There’s nothing like building loyalty and capturing the consumer at an early age. Finally, the crossover between the Topshop and Nordstrom consumer just seems a bit more obvious. With Neiman’s $250,000-plus-on-average-earning consumers spending an average of $12,000 per year in stores seems a harder sell with Target's mid-$50,000 average consumer. But then again Target's results from the Missoni and Jason Wu launch speak for themselves.

If I had to make a call on which team up is the bigger winner I am going with the British. After all it is the year of the Union Jack.

Stacey Widlitz is the President of SW Retail Advisors. She has worked at UBS, SG Cowen, Fulcrum Partners and in 2005 was one of three analysts to launch the Research Department at Pali Capital, where she covered Retail and Home Video for five years. Follow Stacey on Twitter @StaceyRetail.

Retail