Earnings Preview-Nordstrom Inc.

AP News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2009 4:35 PM

Nordstrom Inc., which operates its namesake department stores and the Nordstrom Rack discount chain, reports its earnings for its fiscal third quarter on Thursday. The following is a summary of key developments and analyst opinion related to the period.

OVERVIEW: Luxury stores like Nordstrom, which have been hit hard as affluent shoppers limit their spending, are starting to see their clientele open their wallets a bit as the stock market rallies. But business remains weak.

Nordstrom and other upscale stores have worked to cater to shoppers newly scrutinizing prices and attending fancy events less often by cutting inventory and a collaborating with designers to lower their prices or add more affordable items to their collections.

Nordstrom reported last week that its October sales in stores open at least one year, considered a key measure of a retailer's performance, rose 6.5 percent from a year earlier. That's well above the 3 percent growth estimate that analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters had expected.

BY THE NUMBERS: For the third quarter, analysts on average forecast a profit of 38 cents per share on revenue of $1.87 billion. Nordstrom earned 33 cents on revenue of $1.81 billion in the third quarter a year ago.

ANALYST TAKE: Bill Dreher, retail analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. wrote in a recent report that prices have fallen about 10 percent from a year ago, with the exception of cosmetics, which are about level.

WHAT'S AHEAD: Analysts will want to know which specific holiday items are selling well, how Nordstrom is marketing the lower-priced goods on its floors and what it plans for next year's inventory.

STOCK PERFORMANCE: Shares of Nordstrom have risen almost 16 percent over the quarter, which ended Oct. 31, and they have nearly tripled since the beginning of the year. They're trading twice as high as a year ago and closed Monday at $35.16, almost at the high end of their 52-week range of $6.61 to $36.52.