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Nordstrom believes growth could moderate in H2 of 2010
23
Feb '10
Nordstrom, Inc. reported net earnings of $172 million, or $0.77 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended January 30, 2010. This represented an increase of 152 percent compared with net earnings of $68 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, for the same quarter last year.

Fourth quarter same-store sales increased 6.9 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2008. Net sales in the fourth quarter were $2.54 billion, an increase of 10.3 percent compared with net sales of $2.30 billion during the same period in fiscal 2008.

Fourth Quarter Summary

Nordstrom's fourth quarter performance reflected a continuation of the discipline and execution the company demonstrated throughout the year. The breadth and quality of its merchandise offering, combined with a steady flow of fashion into the stores, led to same-store sales increases in each month of the quarter.

• Full-line same-store sales in the fourth quarter increased 3.9 percent and sales for Nordstrom Direct increased 32.1 percent, combining for a multi-channel same-store sales increase of 7.1 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2008. Most of the company's merchandise categories generated positive same-store sales during the quarter. Highlights for multi-channel sales performance included Women's Better Apparel, Women's Shoes and Jewelry. The Midwest, South, and Northwest regions were the top-performing geographic areas for full-line stores relative to the fourth quarter of 2008.
• Nordstrom Rack experienced its fourth consecutive quarter of positive performance with a same-store sales increase of 4.6 percent in the fourth quarter compared with the same period in fiscal 2008. During the fourth quarter, the company opened two Nordstrom Rack stores.
• Gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, increased approximately 530 basis points compared with last year's fourth quarter. The improvement was mainly driven by merchandise margin as a percentage of net sales. Additionally, the increase in sales allowed for some leverage in buying and occupancy costs as a percentage of net sales, despite higher performance-related expenses. Markdowns were reduced considerably from last year's fourth quarter, which was a highly promotional period. The company saw improvement in its management of inventory and ended the year with an inventory turn of 5.4, the highest in recent company history despite a decline in annual same-store sales.
• Retail selling, general and administrative expenses increased $56 million compared with last year's fourth quarter. The increase was due primarily to higher performance-related and variable expenses which increased as a result of the improvement in sales, partially offset by a decrease in fixed expenses. Retail selling, general and administrative expenses also were impacted by an additional $13 million from stores opened since the fourth quarter of 2008. The company opened 3 full-line stores and 13 Nordstrom Rack stores since the fourth quarter of 2008, increasing retail square footage by 0.9 million, or 4.1 percent.

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