Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) is a much-loved brand that was staying strong even through the retail apocalypse. But what digital didn't shut down, COVID-19 is crushing.

Taking down a luxury brand

Nordstrom announced on Monday that it's closing its three stores that operate under the Jeffrey brand name, which offers cutting-edge luxury fashion, compared to Nordstrom's broader product mix.

The company said it's committed to trying to find employees work at other Nordstrom locations, in addition to providing severance pay and other benefits.

Inside of a Nordstrom shop.

Image Courtesy of Nordstrom, Inc.

Jeffrey was launched by owner Jeffrey Kalinsky in 1996 and had two stores, in New York and Atlanta, before being acquired by Nordstrom in 2005. As part of the deal, Kalinsky took on the title of Director of Designer Merchandising for Nordstrom. 

With the closures, Kalinsky will be leaving the company. "While I'm disappointed in their decision to close Jeffrey stores, I understand it is the right decision for the business given the circumstances of this global crisis," Kalinsky said.

Making tough decisions

Nordstrom announced on May 5 that it's closing 16 of its 117 full-line stores in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the company's fourth quarter, net sales improved 1.3%, but in the first quarter of 2020, most of retail, especially apparel, has seen declines. The company suspended its dividend and share repurchases, took out its line of credit, and offered debt to stay solvent. Part of the workforce has been furloughed as stores remain closed.

Nordstrom will report first-quarter earnings on May 28.