Nordstrom shares rally after its recent investments yielded a big boost in sales and the company raised its growth targets for the rest of the year.
Nordstrom’s big bets on Canada and a set of new online ventures are beginning to pay off.
Income from the Seattle retailer’s two Canadian stores, as well as from The Trunk Club and the company’s discount online websites (Nordstromrack.com and Hautelook) brought in more than $100 million in extra revenue in the quarter ended in Aug. 1 — representing about a third of the 9.2 percent sales growth Nordstrom reported Thursday after the market close.
It’s the fourth consecutive quarter in which sales growth has topped 9 percent, despite an environment that has dumbfounded bigger rivals like Macy’s.
Macy’s on Wednesday posted a decline in total sales, and its shares dropped nearly 7 percent over two days.
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The Seattle retailer’s top-line performance, by contrast, was cheered by investors: Shares traded up 4.8 percent to $78.40 in after-hours trading.
Profit of $211 million, or $1.09 per share, was up from 95 cents in the same quarter last year, widely beating analyst expectations of 90 cents a share. Revenues of $3.7 billion also surpassed Wall Street estimates.
Comparable sales — meaning sales in stores open for at least a year — rose 4.9 percent, a healthy number for a big traditional retailer with large department stores at a time when many shoppers are flocking online.
Macy’s comp sales, for example, fell by 1.5 percent, leading that company to jettison its hopes for comp sales growth this year.
Canada, a market the company entered last September with its first international store in Calgary, is performing “ahead of plan,” co-president Blake Nordstrom said in an earnings call with analysts.
Nordstrom’s performance doesn’t come cheap. The $350 million it spent buying online retailer The Trunk Club, plus what it’s investing in opening flashy new stores in Canada, building dozens of discount Nordstrom Rack locations and renovating stores in the U.S., have squeezed the bottom line.
But the growth from new ventures “helps to justify the investments that diluted earnings growth during the last fiscal year,” said Neil Saunders, CEO of Conlumino, a retail-research firm.
It’s also giving Nordstrom a brighter outlook. The company raised its guidance for annual sales growth to between 8.5 and 9.5 percent, from a previous outlook of 7 to 9 percent. The Seattle-based company also posted a higher outlook for comparable sales growth — 3.5 to 4.5 percent, from the previously estimated 2 to 4 percent.
Nordstrom is widely known for successfully adapting to e-commerce through its website, which drove a big part of the comparable sales growth for its main, full-price segment.
But full-line stores saw comp sales grow too, by 0.8 percent, showing the company keeps luring shoppers to its door. Nordstrom.com’s sales rose 20 percent.
Since last year Nordstrom has been reducing the number of days it offers discounted inventory, merging previous sales events that were confined to certain departments (a shoe clearance on Presidents Day, a men’s half- yearly sale on Father’s Day) into a smaller number of storewide sales.
In 2015 there will be an estimated 67 clearance days, versus 87 in 2013. In 2016 clearance days are expected to drop even further, to around 50.
The company says its new clearance strategy spurs sales because it aligns with the way people prefer to shop during the major holidays, and eases the clearing of inventory because it coincides with seasonal changes for the rest of the retail industry.