Does Nordstrom Rack Carry Lower Quality Clothes Compare to Regular Nordstrom?

Last Updated on September 2, 2023 by Chase Reiner

Nordstrom Rack typically offers lower-priced items than regular Nordstrom stores due to clearance and outlet-style inventory. While quality may vary, both carry reputable brands, but Nordstrom Rack often features past-season or excess items at discounted prices.

What is the Quality of Nordstrom Rack Clothes Compared to Regular Nordstrom?

What is the Quality of Nordstrom Rack Clothes Compared to Regular Nordstrom?

Nordstrom Rack and regular Nordstrom are under one umbrella but operate differently. The Nordstrom Rack sells brands that regular Nordstrom sells, but at a discounted price which can go up to seventy percent. Although the brands are the same, many products are purchased for Nordstrom Rack instead of Nordstrom. If any brand is discontinued, unsuccessful, or the clothing is outdated, Nordstrom Rack will sell it. 

Yes, Nordstrom Rack carries lower quality clothes than the regular Nordstrom, although not all products are lower quality. Some dresses are manufactured for Nordstrom Rack, a cheaper version of another product. Both products look alike, but the quality isn’t the same as the manufacturers use more inexpensive materials or fewer embellishments. 

Comparison Between Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack

AspectNordstromNordstrom Rack
Product OfferingNordstrom focuses on providing high-quality, luxury brands. It typically offers the latest trends and styles from top designers.Nordstrom Rack focuses more on offering discounted products, including out-of-season apparel, shoes, and accessories from the same premium brands found at Nordstrom.
Customer ServiceAt Nordstrom, high level of customer service, including personalized shopping experiences and services such as alteration, is a priority.Customer service at Nordstrom Rack is likewise professional but may not be as personalized or comprehensive as its counterpart at Nordstrom.
Pricing StrategyGiven the high-end brands and latest trend offerings, Nordstrom’s pricing is relatively on the higher side.Nordstorm Rack, meanwhile, focuses on discounts and deals. It offers significant markdowns on retail prices of brands, making it more affordable for cost-conscious customers.
Store Experience & LayoutNordstrom stores usually feature upscale, sophisticated ambiances with spacious layout, quiet environment and plush dressing rooms.Nordstrom Rack stores embrace an open, warehouse-like layout. It’s designed for bargain hunters who enjoy the thrill of sifting through racks to find great deals.
Target MarketNordstrom targets consumers who value top-of-the-line fashion goods and sublime shopping experience, even if it comes at a higher cost.Nordstrom Rack appeals to a broader base of consumers, particularly those looking for bargains on high-quality and designer products.

How Was Nordstrom Founded?

John. W. Nordstrom left his Sweden home in 1887, at the age of 16, to go to New York and work. In his first few years, he worked hard by laboring in mines and logging camps while crossing the country to Washington’s west coast. In 1897 he moved to Alaska and worked at a gold-mine stake. 

John returned to Seattle and united with his friend Carl Wallin who owned a shoe-repair shop. They opened Wallin and Nordstrom in 1901, a small downtown shoe store that led to the launch of Nordstrom Inc.

In 1923, the business partners added a second store. John had an idea of how to do business, and his vision was to provide exceptional service selection, quality, and value. The idea gelled with an enthusiastic customer base. 

John retired in 1928 and sold his share of the company to his sons. Carl Wallin retired a year later and sold his claim to the Nordstrom sons while his third son joined the team in 1933.

The Growing Reputation

By 1960, the shoe shop was the largest shoe store in the country and had stores in eight locations in Washington and Oregon. It was the largest independent shoe chain in the United States.

To increase its market share, its owner decided to expand and venture into the women’s clothing market and bought over Seattle-based Best Apparel in 1963. In 1966, the owners bought over two fashion retailers in Portland and Oregon, and the company offered Northwest customers a variety of shoes and apparel under the new name Nordstrom Best. In the same year, the company added men’s and children’s wear and opened two more stores. In 1968, the three brothers retired and handed the company to their sons and a family friend. 

In 1971, the company was renamed Nordstrom Inc, and the sales surpassed one million dollars by 1973. The company was recognized as the largest-volume fashion specialty store on the West Coast. The company opened a clearance outlet store in Seattle in the same year and was named Nordstrom Rack. By 1988, the company had many stores in different locations.

Extraordinary Partnerships 

Beginning of the new millennium, Nordstrom entered several strategic alliances. From 2000 to 2007, the company owned Faconnable, an exclusive European apparel collection for men and women. The company bought two luxury boutiques in Atlanta and New York City. In the coming year, it bought over a few stores, and by 2012, it was the only major U.S retailer to sell a variety assortment from the renowned British fashion brands Topshop and Topman. 

Nordstrom Today

Today, the fourth generation of the Nordstrom family, along with other executives, runs the company. It currently operates two hundred and seventy-one stores in thirty-six states, with one hundred and seventeen full-line stores, one hundred and fifty-one Nordstrom Racks, two Jeffrey boutiques, and one clearance store.

Differences Between Nordstrom Rack and Nordstrom

Differences Between Nordstrom Rack and Nordstrom

Nordstrom is a staple at malls across the United States but is new to Canadians. The company opened a branch in Canada in 2014, and in 2018 it opened the Rack. 

Nordstrom is known for its high-end fashion, accessories, and homeware collection. But consumers looking for a discount can shop at the Rack since it offers some of the same labels. Below are the differences between the regular Nordstrom and the Rack.

Store Design and Layout

Consumers will agree that the Nordstrom shopping experience is a luxury. Most stores are big and bright, traversing over different levels, and have a clear divide between sections like footwear, jewelry, menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, home, handbags, and other accessories. The shelves and surroundings are neat, beautiful accessories, elegant furniture, and fixtures help glorify the store’s ambiance.

The Rack stores are similar in terms of space and brightness. The store is divided into different sections, the difference being that the Rack focuses less on the overall experience and more on the deals and shopping. The store has basic fixtures scattered throughout, unlike the regular store. 

Customer Service

Overall, both stores offer excellent services if consumers require assistance, but the employees quickly provide help at the regular store. At the Rack, the employees are busy tidying and leaving consumers to do their shopping. 


Consumers looking to buy top luxury brands such as Gucci, Burberry, and Miu Miu, among others, should visit the regular Nordstrom. It also sells mid-priced brands such as Rebecca Minkoff Madewell, etc.

The Rack has sections for designer items, though it isn’t as big as the regular stores and features mid-price brands. The store’s other area has outdated or discontinued clothing on sale. It is better to buy anything from the Rack primarily if it is on sale because of the dress or accessories; otherwise, another consumer will buy the dress.


Nordstrom rack offers discounts, unlike regular Nordstrom. The Rack is the off-price division of Nordstrom, and consumers will get more bottomless deals in the clearance sections.

Tips to Know When Shopping at the Nordstrom Rack

Tips to Know When Shopping at the Nordstrom Rack

Here are a few tips to know when shopping at the Rack.

  • Look for the main white tag that reads ‘Nordstrom Rack.’ If that’s what the label reads, it isn’t from the store, and the clothing is manufactured specifically for the Rack. A full-line Nordstrom item will never have a paper Nordstrom Rack tag.
  • Clothing with a paper tag or the original designer tag came from the regular full-line store and wasn’t made for the Rack.
  • The ‘compare at’ prices aren’t comparing the regular and sale prices. Consumers assume that the ‘compare at’ prices on the Rack tags indicate a regular and sale price, but this isn’t true. When a tag has two prices, it compares the item with the average cost of nay like item. For example, if a consumer finds a gown for fifty dollars and the compare price is one hundred dollars, the latter is the usual going rate for any item.
  • Items with a red sticker or tag on the original label show that it is a clearance item, whether it is from the regular store or made explicitly for the Rack. The highest discount offered goes up to eighty-five percent.
  • The Rack’s red sticker price is the only price the consumer should consider. Often, some clothing has several tags that have prices written, but the reg tag is the item’s actual value even if another label has a lower price. The article is marked down at the regular store before it’s sent and repriced at the Rack.  


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