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Analyst Blog

Leading fashion retailer, Nordstrom Inc. (JWN - Analyst Report), continues with its history of reporting positive comparable store sales (comps). The company recorded a 4.4% increase in comps for the five weeks ended September 29, 2012.

September Comps at Nordstrom’s two business segments – Nordstrom full-line and Nordstrom Rack – increased 4.0% and 6.9%, respectively, compared with the year-ago period. Total retail sales climbed 7.4% to $1.01 billion from $943 million reported for the five-week period ended October 1, 2011.

On a quarter-to-date basis, the company reported an elevation of 11.1% in comps compared to the year-ago period, primarily benefiting from the shift in timing of the company’s Anniversary Sale event. The company’s business segments also posted solid comps, including an 11.6% increase in Nordstrom full-line store comps and a 7.0% increase in Nordstrom Rack store comps. Net sales through the quarter rose 14.9% to $1.88 billion.

 Year-to-date through September 29, 2012, Nordstrom’s total retail sales augmented 11.4% to $7.33 billion driven by a 7.5% increase in comparable store sales. During the period, the company’s comparable store sales at Nordstrom full-line and Nordstrom Rack segments augmented 7.9% and 7.2%, respectively.

Peer Performance

One of Nordstrom’s competitors, Gap Inc. (GPS - Analyst Report), registered a 6% rise in comparable store sales for the month of September, while net sales came in at $1.45 billion, up 7.4% compared with the prior-year period.

Geared up for More Stores

During September, Nordstrom successfully executed its plan of opening four new Nordstrom Rack stores in three different states. As a result, the company opened up one store at Manchester Highlands in Manchester, Missouri; one at Tysons Corner, Virginia; and two stores in California located at the Carmel Mountain Plaza in San Diego and Edinger Plaza in Huntington Beach. Additionally, the company relocated its Nordstrom Rack store at the Mall at the Source in Long Island, New York to the close by Gallery at Westbury Plaza.

Further, on October 4, 2012, the company inaugurated two Nordstrom Rack stores at Town & Country in Phoenix, Arizona and at Alamo Quarry Market in San Antonio, Texas.

Looking further into October, the company is slated to come up with one Nordstrom Rack store at Huntington Shopping Center in Huntington, New York and relocate its Nordstrom Rack store in White Plains, New York, to another floor at the same location.

Over the longer term, Nordstrom targets to open four full-line stores in Canada beginning 2014, including one full-line store in Jacksonville, Florida; and another at The Woodlands in Houston, Texas in 2014. Further, the company plans to bring up three Nordstrom Rack stores in Ann Arbor, Michigan; Columbus, Ohio; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin beginning 2013.

As of October 4, 2012, Nordstrom operated 117 Nordstrom full-line stores, 116 Nordstrom Rack, 2 Jeffrey boutiques, 1 treasure&bond store and 1 clearance store, thus taking the total store count to 237.

Our Recommendation

Based in Seattle, Washington, Nordstrom Inc. offers high quality apparel, shoes, cosmetics and accessories for men, women and kids. The company offers both branded and private label merchandise, as well as a private label card, two Nordstrom VISA credit cards and debit cards for Nordstrom purchases.

Nordstrom maintains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term Buy rating. Our long-term recommendation on the stock remains Neutral.

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