Nordstrom cuts its earnings outlook

SEATTLE — Luxury retailer Nordstrom Inc. on Monday said third-quarter earnings rose 22 percent, helped by an extra week of sales the company counted in the quarter compared with a year ago.

The company cut its outlook for the fourth quarter and the full year, citing challenging retail trends, but investors took the news in stride.

Nordstrom said its profit rose to $165.7 million, or 68 cents per share, compared with $135.7 million, or 52 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Results included a gain of 9 cents per share related to the sale of Nordstrom’s Faconnable business, which closed in the quarter.

Excluding that gain, quarterly earnings totaled 59 cents per share.

On that basis, results topped Wall Street’s expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had forecast a profit of 52 cents per share.

Revenue rose 5 percent to $1.97 billion from $1.87 billion in the year-ago quarter, just ahead of analysts’ estimate for $1.96 billion in sales.

Same-store sales, a key indicator of a retailer’s performance, rose 2.2 percent for the quarter, compared with last year. Same-store sales measures growth at existing stores, excluding newly opened ones and stores that have closed during the year.

Designer items, women’s accessories and men’s apparel sold more briskly than other categories in the quarter.

Nordstrom said its gross profit decreased in the quarter, hurt by markdowns of extra inventory. In a conference call, Chief Financial Officer Mike Koppel said inventory per square foot was 7 percent higher in the quarter than a year ago, but that the company has since tried to match inventory with demand from shoppers.

The retailer opened three stores in the quarter, including its first Boston-area location.

For the fourth quarter, Nordstrom said it expects to post a profit of 88 cents to 92 cents per share, lower than its previous outlook. For the full year, the company slashed guidance to $2.78 to $2.82 per share, from $2.80 to $2.86.

The company also cut back sales expectations, and said quarterly same-store sales will be flat, with December sales rates falling behind those from a year ago.

Nordstrom’s shares improved $3.42, or 11.2 percent, to $33.94 in after-hours electronic trading, after dropping $1.99, or 6.1 percent, to end the regular sessions at $30.52.

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