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Nordstrom Reportedly Hires AlixPartners to Review Possible Rack Spinoff

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  • Nordstrom has reportedly tapped the consulting group AlixPartners to help it review a potential spinoff of its off-price Nordstrom Rack business.
  • A potential review would come amid a bigger shakeout in the department-store sector as companies including Macy's and Kohl's face pressure from activists to break up their stores from their websites.
  • These investors encourage such decisions in order to fetch the higher valuations often given to e-commerce retailers.

Nordstrom has tapped the consulting group AlixPartners to help it review a potential spinoff of its off-price Nordstrom Rack business, according to a report from Bloomberg.

Representatives from Nordstrom and AlixPartners didn't immediately respond to CNBC's requests for comment.

A potential review at Nordstrom comes amid a bigger shakeout in the department-store sector as companies including Macy's and Kohl's face pressure from activists to spin off faster-growing online businesses from more traditional retail stores. These investors encourage such decisions in order to fetch the higher valuations often given to e-commerce retailers.

Macy's is working with AlixPartners to review its e-commerce operations, after activist group Jana Partners urged the company to separate its digital arm from its brick-and-mortar stores. Kohl's has similarly been pressured by activist Engine Capital to consider the same move.

That's after Saks Fifth Avenue spun off its e-commerce operations from its retail stores earlier this year, and executives have since touted it as a successful strategy. Saks.com is now reportedly preparing for an initial public offering in 2022.

Nordstrom, meanwhile, has been struggling to expand sales to pre-pandemic levels in a bid to match some of its peers. In the three-month period ended Oct. 30, sales at Nordstrom Rack fell 8% from 2019 while revenue at its namesake department store rose 3% on a two-year basis.

Chief Executive Erik Nordstrom told analysts on an earnings call in November that the company had been engaging external consultants to look for ways to improve Rack's performance and profitability. "We are not satisfied at all with our Rack business as clearly our recovery is lagging what we think it should be," he said at the time.

Nordstrom shares closed Monday down less than 1% at $20.10, having fallen roughly 36% year to date. That brings the company's market cap to about $3.2 billion.

Read the full report from Bloomberg here.

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