Nordstrom said it experienced higher levels of markdowns than in past years as it cleared spring merchandise during half-yearly sales in May and June.

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Shares of Nordstrom dropped 8.7 percent today after the Seattle retailer said it may not make its quarterly profit projections.

Nordstrom said it experienced higher levels of markdowns than in past years as it cleared spring merchandise during half-yearly sales in May and June.

“Due to lower gross profit margins, the company now expects that earnings for the current quarter will be at the low end or slightly below its previously announced earnings per share outlook of 65 to 70 cents,” the company said in a statement.

Investors hit the stock hard, pushing it down $2.72 to $28.52 at the close. Its 52-week low is $28 a share.

The company went on to say that it believes its quarter-to-date results, which combine the results of May and June, provide the most accurate view of recent sales trends. Preliminary quarter-to-date sales of $1.45 billion decreased 2.8 percent compared to sales of $1.49 billion during the same period in 2007. Quarter-to-date same-store sales, which are a key indicator of performance, decreased 5.9 percent.

Preliminary year-to-date sales of $3.33 billion decreased 3.4 percent compared to sales of $3.44 billion for the same period in 2007. Year-to-date same-store sales, decreased 6.2 percent.

The company’s popular annual anniversary sale starts July 18. As a result, July has historically been the second-largest sales month of the year and will be an important part of the quarter, the company said.

The company will release July sales results Aug. 7 and second-quarter earnings results on Aug. 14.

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