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by Jenn Abelson

Braintree — Leslie Goldberg clasped her hands over her head as if to thank the shopping gods who brought her this moment, surrounded by designer shoes in the middle of the new Nordstrom at South Shore Plaza.

“I’ve been waiting for this,’’ Goldberg squealed at the company’s gala on Wednesday night.

It was the first time the Hingham resident had visited South Shore Plaza in at least two years. But Goldberg, who typically shops online or at Derby Street Shoppes, plans to make Nordstrom a routine stop on her way home from work.

Goldberg and her friend Ellen Winer are precisely the kind of customers South Shore Plaza is hoping to bring back.

Over the years, the Braintree mall, once the region’s second-largest, has lost many upscale shoppers south of Boston to new or expanding centers, including Derby Street, Legacy Place, and Natick Collection. The new Nordstrom here is the opening salvo in South Shore Plaza’s effort to lure more customers and better compete against rivals, according to retail analysts.

The mall is also unveiling a new wing of shops leading to Nordstrom, with some higher-end merchants like Juicy Couture, and discounter Target expected to open in coming months.

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