This is what Nordstrom stores could look like in the future

Nordstrom as we know it is changing.

The Nordstrom family — at the helm of this luxury, century-old department store — announced Thursday that they are considering buying out shareholders and going private.

"They are taking the company back to its roots," Kathy Gersch, a former vice president at Nordstrom and now executive vice president at management consultancy firm Kotter International, told Business Insider.

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Retailers closing stores in 2017
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Retailers closing stores in 2017
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"[Being family-owned] allows them to focus on the vision of success for the long-term and not be influenced by public market pressure," said Gersch.

The brand has struggled recently. Same-store sales numbers have steadily declined since 2014 in its full-line stores. In 2016, the brand reported a 0.4% decrease in comparable sales overall, compared to the 4% growth it saw two years before.

Increasingly, the brand has leaned on its off-price chain, Nordstrom Rack, for growth. These stores now outnumber Nordstrom's full-price locations. Given the success of Rack stores, it's likely we can expect to see more of them in the coming years.

Here's what might change:

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How Nordstrom could change
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How Nordstrom could change
Nordstrom Rack is the off-price retail division of luxury department store, Nordstrom. It sells brands for between 30% and 70% off. Business Insider visited one of its stores in New York's Union Square on a sunny Friday afternoon. The store is one block away from a rival off-price retailer Burlington.
While same-store sales in Nordstrom's department stores have slowed in the past three years, the off-price channel has seen more growth, especially online.
For this reason, the brand has been growing its off-price store locations: Nordstrom now operates 216 off-price stores in the US and 117 full-line stores.
Off-price shopping has become one of the only bright spots in retail. While department stores such as Macy's and JCPenney have shuttered stores, off-price retailers such as TJ Maxx and Ross Stores have announced plans to expand across the US.
Department stores have begun trying to mimic the off-price model in their own stores. Macy's, for example, has created its Backstage concept. This has created more competition in the space, despite Nordstrom being ahead of the curve here.
Morningstar analyst Bridget Weishaar told Business Insider that there is still more room for growth."I think their big asset is Nordstrom Rack," she said.
Some Nordstrom Rack stores feel a lot like a TJ Maxx.
However, prices do feel more expensive here. These Tommy Hilfiger Men's suit jackets were reduced from $400 but still had a hefty $189.97 price tag.
The layout was very similar but it did feel more organized, especially in the self-service shoe section.
In the accessories section, jewelry hung from racks.
And all beauty products were self-service.
It was a lot less luxurious than one of Nordstrom's full-price department stores.
Customers can fill carts with products.
There were fewer attendants around to help and limited changing rooms, which created long lines.
And there were long lines to pay.
The checkout area felt a lot like a grocery store.
Overall, the shopping experience at Nordstrom Rack was pretty pleasant. It's fun to sift through racks of products to find the real gems that are available. If Nordstrom can keep its selection fashionable and current in Rack stores, it's a good sign for the brand. It's a lot more appealing to shop here than at its full-price stores, where you are paying much higher prices for comparable products.
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SEE ALSO: Nordstrom shares soar 20% after announcement it might go private

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