Amid retail woes, discount retailers are expanding and racking up sales. | PostBulletin

As retailers scramble to find solutions to the e-commerce-fueled bricks-and-mortar crisis, department store chains like Nordstrom and Macy’s are embracing off-price models. Last Chance, Nordstrom Rack and Macy’s Backstage — along with traditional discounters like TJ Maxx — have continued attracting shoppers with the promise of a treasure hunt, something online merchants can’t quite replicate. Sears, Carson’s and other onetime retail giants are closing stores or going out of business, but off-price chains have plans to open hundreds of new stores in the coming years.

However, some industry experts caution that a lack of emphasis on online sales, coupled with problems obtaining enough high-quality merchandise to meet demand, could disrupt the discounters’ momentum, which may already be slowing down. At Nordstrom Rack, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less and Burlington Coat Factory, for example, sales at existing stores have been growing at a slower pace over the past three quarters.

Moody’s Investors Service predicted in October that off-price retailers would remain the top performers in the U.S. retail industry over the subsequent 12 to 18 months while department stores would continue to struggle. Christina Boni, vice president and senior analyst at Moody’s, said those predictions are on track.

“Off-price continues to do well, and I don’t think there’s anything that ultimately changes our view,” Boni said.

Although Last Chance is primarily a vehicle for Seattle-based Nordstrom to sell off excess merchandise, the retailer’s other off-price concept, Nordstrom Rack, now has twice as many locations as its traditional department stores. Nordstrom, which did not respond to requests for comment, plans to open 12 new Rack locations in 2018.

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Amid retail woes, discount retailers are expanding and racking up sales. | Business | postbulletin.com.