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Nordstrom Same-store sales drop for first quarter

May '08
Nordstrom Inc reported net earnings of $119 million, or $0.54 per diluted share, for the first quarter ended May 3, 2008. For the same quarter last year, Nordstrom reported net earnings of $157 million and earnings per diluted share of $0.60.

Total sales in the first quarter were $1.88 billion, a decrease of 3.8 percent compared to sales of $1.95 billion during the same period in fiscal 2007. First quarter same-store sales decreased 6.5 percent.

First Quarter Highlights:
The company's focus on expense management and continued inventory control enabled it to achieve the high end of its earnings per share plan, despite the challenging retail environment. Earnings per diluted share decreased 10 percent compared to the same quarter last year.

• Same-store sales decreased 6.5 percent for the quarter, below the company's planned 3 to 5 percent same-store sales decline. Merchandise categories with performance above the same-store average for the quarter were cosmetics, designer products across all categories, and women's activewear and intimate apparel.
• Gross profit, as a percent of sales, decreased 57 basis points compared to last year's first quarter. Merchandise margins declined over prior year as the company utilized markdowns to align inventory with sales trends. Quarter-end inventory per square foot was down 7 percent from the prior year. Three percent of the decline was due to the sale of the company's Faconnable business in the third quarter of 2007. The decline in merchandise margin rate was partially offset by lower buying and occupancy costs.

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