BRANDON — Nordstrom Rack, the discount offshoot of the fashion department store, is opening a second location in the Tampa Bay area.
The new Nordstrom Rack is scheduled to open this fall at the Lake Brandon Plaza shopping center, 11201 Causeway Blvd. It will take over the space of Babies "R" Us, which is closing.
Commonly referred to as the Rack, the store carries clothing, accessories and shoes sold at Nordstrom's stores and website at reduced prices — typically 30 to 70 percent off. It also carries surplus merchandise and specially purchased items from many of the brands sold at Nordstrom.
"We're very excited to add Nordstrom Rack to the tenant mix," said Matt Schuler, a spokesman for DDR Corp., which owns and manages the plaza and adjacent Lake Brandon Village. "We think it's going to provide an upgrade to the merchandise mix at the center and extend the regional draw to the center. Shoppers tend to come from great distances to get to the store."
Nordstrom Rack has one store in the Tampa area and a full-fledged department store at Tampa's International Plaza, which opened in 2001. The Rack opened in 2010 at Walter's Crossing along Dale Mabry Highway near Interstate 275 amid much fanfare, with shoppers arriving more than three hours before doors opened to take advantage of sales and promotions.
Nordstrom officials said adding a store in Brandon will help those shoppers who now drive to Tampa to reach a store.
"It's a strong retail scene," Nordstrom spokeswoman Naomi Tobis said. "We select locations we think are most convenient to our customers and where they are choosing to shop."
Other Tampa Bay area locations are possible, she said, but none has been announced. Most recently, a Nordstrom Rack opened in November at Sarasota's Shoppes at University Town Center.
Based in Seattle, Nordstrom operates 117 department stores and 141 Rack stores and plans to add about 90 Rack locations by the end of fiscal 2016. Rack stores have high productivity — sales of $525 per square foot compared with $415 per square foot for the department stores, according to Forbes.com. The industry average is about $300 per square foot.
Founded as a shoe store in 1901, Nordstrom is known for its footwear collection, generous return policy and attentive customer service. It had record sales of $11.8 billion in fiscal year 2012, the most current annual figures available.
The Brandon Nordstrom Rack will have 32,700 square feet —about the average for a store — and employ 50 full- and part-time workers. It will be part of a large commercial retail hub that includes Publix, PetSmart, Kohl's, Sports Authority and Lowe's.
Susan Thurston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (813) 225-3110. Follow @susan_thurston on Twitter.