Beyoncé is giving Nordstrom a much-needed boost
It's no secret that Beyoncé is a superstar. But how far does her star power go in the retail industry?
It's certainly made an impression on Nordstrom's shoppers.
Beyoncé's athleisure line, Ivy Park, was Nordstrom's' top-selling brand online during the company's launch in April, recent data from Slice Intelligence reveals.
Its usurped the online sales of Estee Lauder, a popular makeup brand.
Athleisure is an incredibly saturated market, but Slice points out that Ivy Park thrives because it "isn’t just an athleisure brand — it’s definitely a Beyoncé brand. A whopping 40% of online Ivy Park buyers have also purchased her music, and a quarter of these fans own her newest album."
And her fans are incredibly loyal.
When Beyoncé premiered the line in the spring, Lululemon tweeted that "they do say imitation is the best form of flattery. Maybe Beyoncé is so Crazy In Love with our brand, she made her own."
Beyoncé's acolytes then threatened to put Lululemon out of business (and at least got Lululemon to delete the aforementioned tweet.)
In other words: Beyoncé's fans are certainly committed to her cause. But is their love for Queen Bey enough to save Nordstrom?
After all, Nordstrom could use a boost: the company's sales have been down. In its most recent quarter, comparable sales for its all of its full-price businesses (including Trunk Club and Nordstrom.com) were down 4.3%. Meanwhile, its off-price Rack stores have been proliferating rapidly, threatening its status as a premiere retailer.
And reputation aside, Nordstrom has a problem that might even be bigger than Beyoncé's celebrity, and it's one that's plaguing the majority of the retail industry: incessant discounting, which conditions consumers to not want to buy full price – unless they have a reason to shop full price.
Additionally, discounting runs so rampant in the retail industry, that promotions aren't even attractive to Nordstrom's shoppers.
"Where we're seeing a big miss is in our clearance and promo — promotional business. So what we take away from that is, number one, the clearance and promotional environment is really noisy," copresident Erik Nordstrom said on an earnings call in May. "There's a lot of excess product out in the marketplace. It's certainly easy to shop online. There's some heavy, heavy discounting going on. And we're seeing that effect in our business."
It's too soon to say how Beyoncé's line has affected Nordstrom as a whole; the company reports second quarter earnings later this summer.
It is proof, though, that, as, Slice points out, that diehard Beyoncé fans (the Beyhive) "will buy anything that bears her name," pointing to how more Ivy Park shoppers have bought Tidal than other online shoppers — and Tidal is mostly owned by her husband, Jay-Z. Further, the data might speak more to Bey's fans than to Nordstrom. What it might mean, though, is that if you sell enough products with Beyoncé's name on it (or products to which she is connected) — you might be able to at least help a brand out — or at least possibly get some people to pay full price.