Nordstrom Inc. (JWN) - Get Report shares traded sharply higher Friday after the retailer posted stronger-than-expected third quarter earnings, and improved its full-year profit outlook, as its focus on digital shopping offset a slump in full price product sales.
Nordstrom said earnings for the three months ending on November 2 were pegged at 81 cents per share, up 215 from the same period last year and well ahead of the Street consensus forecast of 64 cents per share. Group revenues also impressed, topping analysts' estimates even as the overall total fell 2% from last year to $3.672 billion.
Nordstrom said it doesn't expect tariffs on China-made imports to have a material affect on its fiscal 2020 earnings, and nudged the lower end of its prior guidance 5 cents higher to a range of $3.30 to $3.50 per share, while adding 10 basis points to its EBIT margin forecast. Net sales are still expected to fall around 2% from last year, the retailer said.
"Our earnings exceeded expectations, demonstrating substantial progress in the delivery of our strategy and strength of our operating discipline," co-President Erik Nordstrom told investors on a conference call late Thursday. "Through our customer focus, we drove broad base improvement in top line trend of more than 200 basis points relative to the first half of the year."
"In particular, the Off Price business delivered positive sales growth and increased profitability through strong inventory and expense execution," he added. "We're encouraged by the momentum in our Full Price and Off Price businesses as we execute our holiday strategy to establish Nordstrom as a gifting destination for our customers."
Nordstorm shares were marked 8% higher in the opening half hour of trading Friday to change hands at $37.12 each, a move that would still leave the stock nursing a 20% year-to-date decline.
Digital sales, Nordstrom said, rose 7% from last year and now represent more than a third of overall revenues. That gain helped offset a 4.1% decline in full price sales, while off-price sales rose 1.25 from last year
"The new Anniversary Sale strategy was successful and JWN exited the period cleaner than last year," said KeyBanc Capital analyst Edward Yruma. "Rack execution improved and we think the local market strategy will help reaccelerate sales growth."
"The opening of the NYC flagship served as a key inflection point and risk/reward is one of the most favorable in our coverage. We think Nordstrom is one of the best positioned in our apparel coverage for holiday."