Cause of death has not been disclosed but it was announced last December that Nordstrom was diagnosed with lymphoma.
“My heart goes out to the Nordstrom family and everyone at the company during this difficult time,” said Brad Smith, Nordstrom chair.
“Everyone who worked with Blake knew of his passion and deep commitment to employees, customers and the communities we serve,” Smith said.
Executive leadership of Nordstrom will continue under company co-presidents Pete and Erik Nordstrom.
Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData Retail, said Nordstrom was first and foremost, a retailer.
“His instinct was always to make decisions based on what customers wanted, with one eye on how demand was changing,” Saunders said.
“This, along with his view that the business should be run on a long-term basis, meant that Nordstrom was usually one step ahead of rivals on big retail trends like omnichannel, own-label development, and the creation of an off-price spin-off.”
Saunders said Nordstrom was never afraid to take risks and was always happy to be personally associated with them.
“Fortunately, he was most often on the right side of trends,” he said.
“This style of management and his vision is why Nordstrom has always been innovative and has, on occasion, shunned short-term gains in favor of doing the right thing for the long run. His legacy is a strong, respected retailer that has a positive long-term future.”
Nordstrom’s great grandfather, Swedish immigrant John Nordstrom, founded the department store chain in 1901, which started as Wallin & Nordstrom and later on evolved to become one of the world’s renowned department stores.
The Seattle-based retailer has faced a challenging financial market situation and recently posted better-than-expected profit and revenue buoyed by its digital performance.
While other department store retailers have closed or downsized, Nordstrom has continued its expansion plans. The company has opened eight stores at the start of 2018, including the chain’s Men’s Store in Manhattan, its first full-line store in New York, and seven Nordstrom Rack locations in the US and Canada.
Nordstrom will also open its flagship store in New York late this year. The Men’s store offers customers the option to pick up goods they bought online 24 hours a day.
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