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Nov 23, 2021

Nordstrom dives 25% as quarterly profit falls short of estimates

A shopper wearing a protective mask carries a Nordstrom Inc. shopping bag in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, June 10, 2021. Prices paid by U.S. consumers rose in May by more than forecast, extending a months-long buildup in inflation that risks becoming more established as the economy strengthens. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

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Nordstrom Inc. reported higher labour and fulfillment costs in the third quarter while sales remained stubbornly below pre-pandemic levels and profit missed analyst estimates. That sent the shares plunging in late trading. 

Nordstrom reported earnings per share of 39 cents, below the average estimate of 55 cents from analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Key Insights

  • Nordstrom said that sales at its off-price Rack division fell 8 per cent in the third quarter versus the same period in fiscal 2019. Overall, sales at the company were down 1 per cent versus pre-pandemic levels. Like many retailers, Nordstrom is offering comparisons to 2019 given the pandemic disruption of 2020.
  • On a call with analysts, Chief Executive Officer Erik Nordstrom said the company is “not satisfied at all with our Rack business.” He said low inventory levels of women’s apparel and shoes led to a slower uptick in sales, but predicted improvement in the fourth quarter and 2022.
  • Nordstrom appears to be struggling more than its peers to get revenue back to where it was before Covid-19. This is now the second straight quarter in which the Seattle-based retailer has reported sales that were below pre-pandemic levels.
  • “We’re taking action to improve performance at Nordstrom Rack, including optimizing inventory levels, better balancing price points and increasing brand awareness,” Nordstrom said in the company’s statement. “Work is also underway to improve merchandise margin across the company.”

Market Reaction

  • The shares fell 22 per cent at 4:52 p.m. in late trading in New York, paring slightly their earlier drop. Through Tuesday’s close, the stock has gained 2.3 per cent.