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Merchandise divisions perk up at Nordstrom Q1

May '06
Fashion specialty retailer Nordstrom Inc reported net earnings of $131.2 million or $0.48 per diluted share, for first quarter ended April 29, 2006. For the same period last year, net earnings and earnings per diluted share were $104.5 million and $0.38, respectively.

Total sales for first quarter of 2006 increased 8.0 percent to $1.8 billion, compared to sales of $1.7 billion in same period last year. First quarter same-store sales increased 5.4 percent.

First Quarter Highlights
Net earnings increased 25.5 percent in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year, reflecting continued progress in merchandise execution, inventory management and expense control. The company remains committed to providing a superior shopping experience and achieving long-term profitable growth.

- Same-store sales increased 5.4 percent for the quarter, higher than company's three percent same-store sales. Merchandise divisions with performance above the company's average were accessories, cosmetics and men's apparel.

- Gross profit, as a percent of sales, increased 40 basis points. Better than plan sales resulted in incremental leverage on buying and occupancy expenses, while overall merchandise margin remained flat versus last year.

-- The same-store sales increase combined with expense control resulted in a 48 basis point reduction in selling, general and administrative expenses on a percent to sales basis. For the quarter, fixed expenses were maintained at or below budgeted levels.

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