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beat estimates by a penny in the fourth fiscal quarter, but the bottom line still dropped from the year-ago period as a result of

slumping same-store sales and increased markdowns.

Net income for the fourth fiscal quarter totaled $27 million, or 20 cents a share. The 18 analysts polled by

First Call/Thomson Financial

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arrived at a consensus estimate of 19 cents a share. While earnings were better than expected, they were down considerably from the year-ago quarter, when Nordstrom earned $66.5 million, or 50 cents a share.

Revenue for the quarter ended Jan. 31 rose to $1.66 billion from $1.54 billion.

The department store chain, which is based in Seattle, plans to add a full-line store in Hurst, Texas, in the first calendar quarter of 2001, while relocating a full-line store in San Jose, Calif., and closing a store in Yakima, Wash. In the third quarter of the year, Nordstrom intends to open full-line stores in Columbus, Ohio; Tampa, Fla.; and Chandler, Ariz. The company expects to open about nine Nordstrom Rack stores in 2001.

On the

New York Stock Exchange

today, Nordstrom lost 56 cents, or 2.9%, to close at $18.91.