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Reuters reports this morning that members of the Nordstrom family are "considering taking the company private as it struggles with an industry-wide sales slowdown."

Such a move, the story says, "would involve raising debt, would be a risky but potentially profitable bet by Nordstrom's founding family and largest shareholder bloc that the company can reshape itself and emerge from the retail meltdown stronger." Going private would give the company a little more room to do any necessary restructuring, though it would be replacing the pressure that can be place don the company by Wall Street investors with pressure - hopefully more informed and patient - from whatever private equity group decided to work with it.

The move has not yet been formally proposed, so there still is the possibility that it might not happen. Reuters reports that "the company's board has formed a committee of independent directors to explore the possibility of any transaction that could be made by the group."

The New York Times adds that "the decision signals the Nordstrom family’s commitment to its core retail business at a time when investors and lenders are deserting the industry in droves. It also reflects optimism that a private equity firm or a sovereign wealth fund would be willing to invest in a large retailer, after many major investors got burned in debt-fueled buyouts that went bust."
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