The Seattle-based department store chain on Thursday, March 1, reported a 2.6% increase in comparable sales in its fourth-quarter earnings release, just days after reports broke that it's about to finalize a bid to go private.
Nordstrom, a holding in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio, posted earnings per share of 89 cents, versus a Wall Street forecast of $1.24, but the figure reflects negative effects from the newly enacted tax law and a one-time investment in employees of $16 million. Its total sales of $4.6 billion was on par with analyst predictions and marked an 8.4% increase since the same period last year.
The company also reported 4% customer growth to 33 million, as well as a 35% increase in Nordstrom Rewards customers in the full fiscal year. Nordstrom Rewards customers now account for 51% of all sales, up from 44% in 2016.
In the fourth quarter, the Nordstrom brand, which includes Trunk Club, saw 2.4% same-store sales growth, while Nordstrom Rack saw 3.7% growth. In 2018, the company will open 12 new Nordstrom Rack locations and one full store.
Nordstrom shares are down 4.3% after the bell to $48.30.
Last Friday, reports emerged that the founding Nordstrom family is finalizing plans to take the department store chain private, nearly five months after a buyout deal with Leonard Green & Partners LP fell through. Nordstrom had indicated it might rekindle sale talks in 2018.
In its latest buyout proposal, it's likely that private equity firm Leonard Green is still involved, according to Kathy Gersch, a former Nordstrom executive and now executive vice president at strategy execution firm Kotter International Inc.
"Privatization will allow them a chance to be more long term in their thinking and investing and ways of diversifying their business without having to worry about necessarily the pressures of being in a public market," she told TheStreet ahead of Nordstrom's earnings release on Thursday.