Nordstrom continued its profit upswing, with a 38.1 percent jump in the third quarter.

Share story

Nordstrom’s third-quarter profit climbed 38.1 percent, buoyed by strong sales momentum and ongoing operating improvements, the Seattle company reported Thursday.

The upscale apparel retailer, which handily beat Wall Street profit estimates, boosted its forecast for the year.

Earnings for the quarter ended Oct. 29 were $107.5 million, or 39 cents a share, up from year-ago profit of $77.8 million, or 27 cents a share.

Profit rose for the 10th consecutive quarter.

Sales rose 8 percent to $1.67 billion. Third-quarter same-store sales — those at stores open at least a year, a key gauge of performance — rose 5.9 percent.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, on average, expected earnings of 35 cents a share on sales of $1.66 billion.

“It’s an absolute blowout quarter,” said Patricia Edwards, who helps manage about $6.4 billion at Wentworth, Hauser & Violich in Seattle, including about 1 million Nordstrom shares.

“They have done a phenomenal job on merchandising,” Edwards said. “They have very fashion-forward stuff that seems to be flying off the shelves. With the inventory systems they have put in place, they are selling them the most profitable way possible.”

Nordstrom has been upgrading its inventory systems since 2000, most recently introducing a tool that helps it use markdowns more profitably.

Nordstrom also raised its earnings forecast to between $1.90 and $1.95 a share, from $1.80 to $1.90, for the fiscal year ending Jan. 29. Wall Street had projected $1.88.

Nordstrom shares rose 64 cents, or 1.7 percent, to close at $38.47 Thursday, before the report was released. They added another 13 cents in after-hours trading.

Comments from Wentworth, Hauser & Violich manager Edwards were reported by Bloomberg News.