Nordstrom chief merchant Teri Bariquit is retiring after 37 years with the company, the retailer said on Friday. She will remain until the company finds her successor.
Before becoming the store’s first chief merchandising officer in 2019, Bariquit held a variety of leadership roles in merchandising and inventory planning.
Nordstrom said in a press release that the company is conducting an internal and external search for Bariquit’s replacement.
Nordstrom chief brand officer Pete Nordstrom credits Bariquit, who spent her entire career at Nordstrom, with transforming the retailer’s merchandising operation.
That has included expanding the models for inventory management and sourcing, helping to significantly grow its designer business, and making “critical investments in technology and organizational design within merchandising,” per the company’s release.
Bariquit has been operationally savvy and an inspiring leader, according to Thomai Serdari, professor of luxury marketing and branding at New York University’s Stern School of Business. But her departure may allow Nordstrom to switch gears in ways it should, she said by email.
“Teri Bariquit’s departure can become an opportunity for the renowned American retailer to shift its focus away from operational infrastructure to creativity,” Serdari said. “Bariquit was instrumental in helping Nordstrom move into the 21st century and in setting up the merchandising engine that can capitalize on customer service optimization across channels. Bariquit’s successor will need more than operational know-how. Specifically they will need an agile and fearless point of view that can translate American culture into an irresistible merchandising strategy.”
That’s especially true because Nordstrom has been lagging lately, according to GlobalData Managing Director Neil Saunders.
“Across the period of Teri Bariquit’s tenure, Nordstrom has been highly regarded for its merchandising prowess. It has also made giant strides in areas like omnichannel for which she has had responsibility,” he said by email. “Nordstrom was hit hard by the pandemic and there is a sense that they have struggled to recover their standards in the years since. Shopping habits have also changed rapidly of late. So having someone new come in could be an opportunity to rethink and refresh their approach as they try to reset the business. That said, filling this role is important and whoever they take on has some big shoes to fill.”
Serdari expects Nordstrom to hire from within. “Nordstrom operates on a formula that connects restraint and boldness but delivers continuity and excellence of service,” she said.