Nordstrom Inc. reported net earnings of $146 million for the third quarter ended October 27, 2012. This represented an increase of 15.0 percent compared with earnings of $127 million for the same quarter last year. Earnings per diluted share of $0.71 increased 20.3 percent from $0.59 per diluted share for the same quarter last year.
Third quarter same-store sales, which reflected a timing shift that moved a week of the Anniversary Sale event into August this year, increased 10.7 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2011. Combined second and third quarter same-store sales, which removes the impact of the Anniversary Sale shift, increased 7.3 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2011. Net sales in the third quarter were $2.71 billion, an increase of 13.8 percent compared with net sales of $2.38 billion during the same period in fiscal 2011.
Third Quarter Summary
Nordstrom’s third quarter performance demonstrated strong top-line growth, consistent with the Company’s initiatives and investments to improve the customer experience across all channels.
Nordstrom net sales, which consist of the full-line and Direct businesses, increased $204 million, or 11.5 percent, compared with the same period in fiscal 2011. Same-store sales increased 11.2 percent. Top-performing merchandise categories included Men’s Shoes, Men’s Apparel and Kids’ Apparel.
Full-line same-store sales increased 8.1 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2011. The Midwest and Northwest regions were the top-performing geographic areas relative to the third quarter of 2011.
Direct sales outpaced the overall Company performance, with an increase of 38 percent, reflecting the Company’s ongoing initiatives in e-commerce. This increase was on top of last year’s third quarter increase of 33 percent that included the impact of the launch of free shipping and free returns online in late August 2011.
Nordstrom Rack, which opened thirteen stores during the first nine months of the year, continued to demonstrate strong sales growth in the third quarter with increases in net sales of 16.3 percent and same-store sales of 8.1 percent.
Gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, decreased 37 basis points compared with last year’s third quarter, due to costs associated with our enhanced Fashion Rewards program in driving new and deeper customer relationships.
Retail selling, general and administrative expenses, as a percentage of net sales, decreased 30 basis points compared with last year’s third quarter. The decrease was primarily due to expense leverage from the Anniversary Sale shift, partially offset by increases in fulfillment costs associated with the substantial growth in online sales.
In the Credit segment, overall performance continues to improve with delinquency and write-off rates at well below prior-year levels. Given the overall performance of the credit portfolio and underlying economic trends, the reserve for bad debt was reduced by $10 million.