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NEW YORK CITY-Luxury department-store chain Nordstrom is looking at sites here to open its first Manhattan unit. The company has hired real-estate services firm Madison Retail Group to assist in finding a space.

The closest stores the chain has to New York City are two in suburban New Jersey, at Garden State Plaza, in Paramus, and the Mall at Short Hills (NJ). The retailer, which operates 98 department stores, is opening three units this year, in Denver; Natick, MA; and Novi, MI.

“Nordstrom would shake up the city,” says Howard Davidowitz, chairman of New York City-based retail consulting and investment firm Davidowitz & Associates. Entering the city would likely have some impact on the Manhattan stores he calls the “big five:” Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys New York.

“I think Nordstrom will have its own niche,” he says. “I think they will do incredible.” Davidowitz surmises that one possibility for a Manhattan Nordstrom could be the current Lord & Taylor department store on Fifth Avenue, where the owner, National Realty and Development, has considered a renovation of the space. He also says that the retailer might have luck getting space near Penn Plaza, on 34th Street between Sixth and Seventh avenues, where Vornado Realty Trust is planning a major redevelopment.

Nordstrom is the second large-format chain to announce this year that it intends to enter Manhattan. Last month JC Penney announced plans plans to open a store in the Vornado-owned Manhattan Mall, on Sixth Avenue between 32nd and 33rd streets.

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