Nordstrom Implements Size Optimization To Maximize its Merchandise Selection


Looking to further refine its merchandise offerings to better meet customer demand, while also reducing overall inventory expenses, Nordstrom recently added Oracle’s Retail Size Profile Optimization application. The new solution is designed to help retailers optimize size distribution by merchandise category and by store.

“We believe we can do an even better job of getting the right product out to the customers by refining our planning applications,” says Jan Walsh, VP and Business Information Officer for the fashion specialty retailer. Walsh recently shared these and other insights into Nordstrom’s strategy with peers at Oracle’s Crosstalk user conference in Orlando. “So we are investing quite heavily in our planning suite right now.”

Armed with more detailed knowledge of customer wants and needs at store-by-store and category-by-category levels, Nordstrom can achieve the following benefits:

  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Fewer markdowns and stock-outs
  • Decreased inventory
  • Increased sales and profitability

“We believe the Oracle Retail Size Profile Optimization application will help us improve how we assort merchandise for our customers, helping to ensure we have the right merchandise at the right time for customers,” Walsh notes.

Tools for support during economic slowdown

Nordstrom continues to support and invest in technologies that will help the company work more effectively, especially during difficult economic times. “When you are experiencing decreasing sales you need to know where to pare back and where you can still be effective in selling,” Walsh says.

Walsh says solutions including markdown optimization and replenishment optimization have helped Nordstrom survive and thrive during the recession. “When sales curtailed so drastically last fall, we were able to adjust our inventory levels month by month to match the sales,” she notes. “We were able to lower inventory and this allowed us to be profitable every single month, even when we had declining sales trends.”


Walsh predicts that consumers will continue to be more careful about spending and retailers must act accordingly. “Consumers have actually changed their concept about how they want to spend…so we need to make sure that as merchants we are matching their needs. What we need to do is figure out how our systems can support the strategies that match what the consumers want to do.”

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