Nordstrom Shares Spike After Ryan Cohen Amasses Stake

Cohen could push for the replacement of at least one board member

Nordstrom Store Logo
Roberto Machado Noa/Getty Images

Key Takeaways

  • Nordstrom stock surged 28% early Friday after the Wall Street Journal reported activist investor Ryan Cohen had taken a large position in the struggling retailer.
  • Cohen, known as the founder of Chewy and a poster child of the meme stock frenzy, is expected to push for changes to the board.
  • New board nominations are due by Feb. 17, before the company's annual meeting.
  • The Nordstrom family holds several executive leadership positions as well as about 30% of company shares.

Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) shares surged 22% Friday morning, after a 28% jump overnight (its biggest in almost a year), on news that billionaire activist investor Ryan Cohen had amassed a large stake in the ailing retailer.

Cohen, founder of pet retailer Chewy Inc. (CHWY) and chairman of GameStop Corp. (GME), is now one of the five largest non-family shareholders of Nordstrom. Known for his activist approach, Cohen is expected to push for changes to Nordstrom's board amid declining sales.

Cohen reportedly plans to urge for the replacement of at least one board member. People familiar with the matter suggested that former Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. (BBBY) CEO Mark Tritton, who heads Nordstrom's compensation committee, could be a target. Cohen is said to have concerns about Tritton's relationships with the Nordstrom family members who lead the company. Nordstrom said in a statement to CNBC that it was "open to hearing [Cohen's] views."

A change in board members would need to happen quickly. Nordstrom's window for board nominations closes Feb. 17, before its annual meeting. Cohen will likely need to win support from members of the Nordstrom family, who collectively own about 30% of outstanding shares.

Nordstrom faced an inventory surplus in recent months and has slashed prices in an effort to rebalance. The retailer's holiday sales came in below expectations and the company has slashed its 2023 guidance. According to YCharts data, Nordstrom stock has lost almost 70% of its value in the last 8 years as it and other brick-and-mortar retailers have struggled to keep pace with online shops.

10 year Nordstrom stock price chart


Article Sources
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  1. Wall Street Journal. "Ryan Cohen Takes Stake in Nordstrom."

  2. Yahoo! Finance. "Nordstrom, Inc. (JWN)."

  3. Gamestop. "Biography- Ryan Cohen."

  4. CNBC. "Nordstrom stock surges after report says activist investor Ryan Cohen bought a stake."

  5. Nordstrom. "Nordstrom Proxy Statement 2022," Pages 61 and 65.

  6. Nordstrom. "Nordstrom Reports Holiday Sales, Updates Outlook."

  7. YCharts. "Nordstrom (JWN)."

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