(Bloomberg) -- Meme-stock investor Ryan Cohen has built a sizable stake in Nordstrom Inc. and aims to replace at least one of the department store chain’s directors, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Cohen is already one of Nordstrom’s five biggest non-insider shareholders, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the information wasn’t public.
The effort follows Cohen’s move last month to push e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to buy back more of its shares, in a rare case of activism targeting a prominent Chinese firm.
“While Mr. Cohen hasn’t sought any discussions with us in several years, we are open to hearing his views, as we do with all Nordstrom shareholders,” a spokeswoman for the retailer said. “We will continue to take actions that we believe are in the best interests of the company and our shareholders.”
A representative for Cohen declined to comment. Cohen’s stake was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.
As the managing member of RC Ventures, Cohen became an idol to amateur investors after championing well-known but languishing stocks like Bed Bath & Beyond Inc. and GameStop Corp., where he became chairman in 2021.
Cohen, the co-founder and former CEO of Chewy.com, plowed virtually all of his proceeds from the 2017 sale of the pet retailer into just two stocks: Apple Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. Cohen said at that time that his portfolio, when including dividends and a few other stock holdings, had returned more than 40% over the previous three years, beating the market.
Shares of Seattle-based Nordstrom surged 29% in premarket trading Friday morning. Through Thursday’s close they had fallen 4.3% in the past year, leaving it with a market value of $3.38 billion.
Last month, Nordstrom slashed its annual profit guidance after sales decreased during the crucial holiday shopping season. While higher-income shoppers remain relatively resilient, other consumers are pulling back somewhat on their spending, the company said.
--With assistance from Jeannette Neumann.
(Updates with premarket trading in eighth paragraph)
©2023 Bloomberg L.P.