The Nordstrom store is seen at a mall in a Denver suburb May 16, 2008. The upscale department store chain Nordstrom Inc. reported earnings that topped Wall Street estimates. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
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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.

“[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.

We went to a Nordstrom Rack store to see if this truly is the future of the brand.

Nordstrom Rack is the off-price retail division of luxury department store, Nordstrom. It sells brands for between 30% and 70% off. We 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.

Nordstrom Rack is the off-price retail division of luxury department store, Nordstrom. It sells brands for between 30% and 70% off. We 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.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

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.

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.

Business Insider/Mary Hanbury

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.

For this reason, the brand has been growing its off-price store locations: Nordstrom...