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Nordstrom's post net earnings of $104.5mn - increases 31% dividend, Q1 2005

18
May '05
Nation's leading fashion specialty retailers Nordstrom Inc reported net earnings of $104.5 million, or $0.75 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended April 30, 2005, ahead of expectations. For the same period last year, net earnings and earnings per diluted share were $68.7 million and $0.48, respectively. 2004 first quarter results include $20.8 million or $0.08 per share of interest expense related to retirement of debt during the quarter.

Total sales for the first quarter of 2005 increased 7.7 percent, to $1.7 billion, compared to sales of $1.5 billion in the same period last year. First quarter same-store sales increased 6.2 percent.

First Quarter Highlights
First quarter earnings per share increased 56 percent, reflecting ongoing improvement in merchandise execution, inventory productivity and expense management. These key areas of focus support the Company's goals of providing a differentiated shopping experience and delivering superior long-term financial performance.

- Same-store sales were strong throughout the quarter, increasing 6.2 percent on top of a 14 percent increase the prior year. Underlying sales trends remain strong as demonstrated by same-store sales increases across regions and categories.
- Gross profit, as a percent to sales, increased 20 basis points. Better than plan sales resulted in incremental leverage on buying and occupancy expenses, offsetting slightly lower merchandise margin.
- Selling general andadministrative expenses improved 130 basis points as a percent to sales. The company continues to demonstrate good progress improving its operating performance. For the quarter, fixed expenses were maintained at or below budgeted levels.


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