Bruce Nordstrom Dead at 90

Bruce Nordstrom Dead at 90

( – Retail giant Bruce Nordstrom has died at age 90. A statement from Nordstrom Inc., now run by his sons, said the businessman died at his Seattle home on May 19. “Our dad leaves a powerful legacy as a legendary business leader, a generous community citizen, and a loyal friend,” the statement read.

Mr. Nordstrom was the grandson of Swedish immigrant John Nordstrom, who opened a shoe store in Seattle in 1901. The grandson began working in the outlet’s stock rooms at age 9, earning 25 cents an hour. When his father, Everett Nordstrom, and uncles, Elmer and Lloyd Nordstrom, took over the company after their father’s death, Bruce continued to work there until he left to attend the University of Washington. He studied economics and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi before graduating in 1955.

Bruce Nordstrom became President of Nordstrom Inc. in 1963 and co-chair in 1968 with his cousins, James and John Nordstrom, and close friends. Together, they transformed the company from a local Seattle chain of seven shoe stores to more than 156 outlets across the United States.

When he retired in 1995, Erik, Pete, and Blake Nordstrom, his sons, joined the company’s board to work alongside CEO John Whitacre. Sales decreased under Whitacre’s leadership, who parted ways with the company in 2000. Bruce Nordstrom returned to the chairmanship and directed the firm back to profitability. In 2003, it hit record revenue of $2.3 billion. Retiring for the second time in 2006, Mr. Nordstrom left the company in the hands of his sons and Enrique Hernandez, its new chairman.

Bruce Nordstrom had amassed a personal fortune of at least $1 billion by the time he died. He and his sister, Anne Gittinger, were the company’s largest shareholders, with 300 stores in the United States and Canada and several boutiques across Europe. The businessman was married to Jeannie Nordstrom, and they had three children. Blake Nordstrom, their son, died in January 2019 following a lymphoma diagnosis.

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