After spiraling down for so long, it was probably inevitable Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) would dump Trunk Club, its curated styling service. Officially, the retailer says it will be "fully integrating" the personal shopper service into the company by closing down the physical clubs and incorporating the concept into nearby Nordstrom stores, yet as just another high-touch customer service offering the department store is famous for, the Trunk Club may be considered finished.
No longer a one-of-a-kind service
Trunk Club was unique in its time for its format. Customers would consult with a stylist either online or at one of six brick-and-mortar locations, and then have an assortment of clothing and accessories shipped to their homes. Whatever they decided not to keep they could return free of charge.
Numerous similar services such as StitchFix flourished in its wake, and offshoots of the idea, such as subscription services and clothing rental companies, are now popular.
Nordstrom acquired Trunk Club in 2014 for $350 million, but almost immediately ran into trouble with the business. Within two years it wrote off almost $200 million of its value. In its just-completed fourth quarter, Nordstrom took $29 million in charges, or $0.19 per share, related to the integration.
CFO Anne Bramman told analysts Trunk Club was being combined "into a holistic Nordstrom styling offer," which will make it one of the many services it makes available to customers. However, it will be launching a dedicated e-commerce site in Canada.