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Nordstrom Sales Jump

The big department store chain posts strong second-quarter numbers.
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(JWN) - Get Nordstrom, Inc. Report

posted a 39% rise in its second-quarter profit and boosted full-year earnings guidance.

The Seattle-based department store chain said earnings for the quarter ended July 30 rose to $149 million, or 53 cents a share, from the year-ago $107 million, or 37 cents a share. Sales rose 7.8% from a year ago to $2.1 billion, as same-store sales -- measuring sales in stores open at least a year -- rose 6.2%.

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The figures exceeded Wall Street's expectations. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had forecast a second-quarter profit of 48 cents on sales of $2.09 billion.

Nordstrom said regular-price selling was strong throughout the quarter, and the initial response to fall merchandise was favorable. Gross margins rose as the company made fewer markdown sales and cut overhead.

For the year ending Jan. 28, 2006, Nordstrom expects to make around $1.85 a share, up from its previous $1.70-$1.75 forecast and above the $1.77 Thomson estimate. For the third quarter, the company expects 3%-5% same-store sales growth and earnings per share in the range of 30-35 cents a share, in line with the 32-cent Thomson First Call consensus.

Nordstrom shares were halted late Tuesday after falling $1.55 to $31.05 during regular action.