How Saks Off 5th Stacks Up Against Nordstrom Rack

A battle of discount department stores waged in Westlake Center.
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You could be as well-dressed as these faceless mannequins.

Designer clothing just got more accessible this week with a brand new Saks Off 5th in downtown Seattle. The Saks brand already has a customer base here, according to president Jonathan Greller, who points to online orders from the region. But will it be able to compete with Seattle’s beloved Nordstrom Rack in the same shopping center? Here’s a breakdown of the discount department stores’ similarities and differences.

You can head up Westlake Center’s newly built escalator to get to Saks or go down another one to access the Rack. However, what greets you at each is slightly different. No surprise women’s contemporary clothing is front and center in both stores. But the Rack combines this section with designer handbags, while Saks pairs it with designer denim–both introducing customers to their most popular items first. Sorry menswear, you’re still relegated to the back in both establishments.

Size Matters
Size-wise, the Rack boasts over 42,000-square-feet while Saks Off 5th falls slightly short at 36,000. Nordstrom Rack has a home section, offering throw pillows, blankets and kitchenware, while Saks Off 5th does not. The Rack’s beauty section is also more extensive with more brands and products available than Saks’ travel-size products near the checkout line.

What’s in a (Brand) Name?
The accessories department at Saks Off 5th is impressive—with more than 1,500 kinds of handbags and 8,700 pairs of shoes. The Rack gets props for a larger quantity of shoes, but Saks carries more high-end brands. Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin pumps and Valentino purses are all on display. Both aim to stay on trend, but Saks Off 5th has an advantage being based in New York with their buyers in closer proximity to the home bases of countless designers and brands.

The Fixin’s
For those that need some hemming or resizing, Nordstrom Rack offers alteration services in-store, while Saks does not. Simply bring your item along with its receipt into any Rack location—including downtown—and work with a professional tailor to get that perfect fit.

The Price is Right
Both stores advertise up to 70 percent off of their main stores’ regular prices at all times, so you can grab that certain eye-catching item at either establishment without breaking the bank.

All in all, the addition of a new discounted designer clothing store will only enhance the downtown shopping experience. Whether you prefer one over the other, this Seattleite is thrilled to have more choices on where to spend the money burning a hole in her wallet. 

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