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Nordstrom Swings to Profit in Latest Period

Earnings before charges are down, but retailer's forecast for the full year is better than expected.

May 20, 2003|From Reuters

Upscale department store chain Nordstrom Inc. on Monday posted lower fiscal first-quarter operating profit, hurt by weaker-than-expected sales and high markdowns, but the company's overall results and full-year outlook were better than analysts had forecast.

The Seattle-based retailer earned $27.2 million, or 20 cents a share, for the first quarter ended May 3, compared with $30.4 million, or 22 cents, before one-time charges a year earlier. After charges, it posted a net loss of $24.6 million, or 18 cents, in last year's first quarter.

The company beat its own forecast and analysts' consensus estimate of 14 cents a share, as compiled by Thomson First Call. Nordstrom had targeted earnings in a range of 12 to 15 cents a share.

Sales increased 3.5% to $1.34 billion in the latest period from $1.25 billion a year earlier. Sales at stores open at least a year decreased 1.4%.

The company's shares climbed in after-hours trading on Instinet to $16.65, up from their close of $15.86 on the New York Stock Exchange, where they had lost 30 cents for the day.

Nordstrom forecast fiscal second-quarter earnings of 35 to cents a share, compared with 39 cents in the year-earlier period. The company said it expected its second-quarter same-store sales to be unchanged.

Analysts had been looking for a second-quarter profit of 35 cents a share on average, according to First Call.

The company projected a full-year profit per share of $1.19 to $1.23, compared with $1.19 a year earlier, on flat same-store sales growth. Analysts had expected the company to earn $1.14 a share for the year.

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