Guest Editorial: Nordstrom Closures Hit Chandler

By Recker McDowell —

Nordstrom is closing its store at Chandler Fashion Center permanently. The Chandler store is among 16 locations Nordstrom is shuttering.

Other retailers will also be permanently closing stores with COVID-19 hastening the demise of some already struggling brands and locations.

Nordstrom’s closure at Fashion Center is a blow to Chandler. The East Valley suburb has worked for years to become more of a destination whether it be for technology workers or shoppers. The growth of companies such as Intel and Waymo (Google’s self-driving car venture) have helped put Chandler on the national map for technology jobs.

Nordstrom’s closure at Chandler Fashion Center is among a wave of lost jobs because of or quickened by the pandemic.  The U.S. economy lost 2.1 million retail jobs in April and 20.5 million overall with COVID-19 grinding commerce and travel to a halt.

The Nordstrom store was also a feather in Chandler and the mall’s cap. The high-end department store brought significant tax revenue. The only other Nordstrom store in the Phoenix market is at Scottsdale Fashion Square.

Chandler has sought to be on the same level as Scottsdale when it comes to shopping options. The Nordstrom closure puts that effort back. Scottsdale is still the hub for luxury shopping and high-end brands. We will see how that segment also emerges from COVID-19 and all its fallouts.

Chandler has made a lot of progress, especially as a technology center. It is also looking to build up its roster of local restaurants in its downtown area as it sees the success of Gilbert’s Heritage District and Old Town Scottsdale.

Chandler and other cities will need to be creative and innovative on how they fill or redevelop retail and other business spaces left empty after COVID-19.

Nordstrom is also closing stores in California, Maryland, Texas, Oregon, Florida, and other states.

The Nordstrom closure hurts Chandler Fashion Center and hurts Chandler, but it should not diminish the East Valley’s other economic development and community accomplishments.