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sounded a familiar refrain on Monday, warning that itsearnings won't meet its guidance and blaming the war in Iraq.

The Seattle-based retailer said it expects its first-quarter earnings to fall short of the range of 23 cents to 27 cents per share it previously forecast, although it gave no guidance. The company blamed the shortfall on below-plan sales, saying that the war in Iraq had further depressed already-soft consumer demand.

A company spokeswoman said Nordstrom was expecting same-store sales to be flat this quarter. So far in the quarter, she said same-store sales have fallen by a low-single-digit percentage, although she declined to give a specific figure.

"Our team is taking appropriate action to respond to current conditions, however, sales are a key performance driver and based on current trends we felt it was prudent to adjust expectations," said company President Blake Nordstrom in a statement.

The company is only the latest retailer to warn of disappointing earnings.






have previously cautioned investors that their earnings won't meet previous guidance. Meanwhile,

BJ's Wholesale Club

(BJ) - Get Report

warned earlier this month that its full-year 2003 earnings will be up to 46 cents a sharelower than analysts' expectations.

Slow sales have been hampering retailers for months. After a

disappointing holiday season, many retailers reported slow sales in January and

February. Although many retail analysts have been blaming the slow sales on the

uncertain economy and rising unemployment,retailers themselves have often attributed the slow sales to "geopolitical uncertainties," especially concern about the war in Iraq.