Nordstrom Shares Fall as Earnings and 2021 Outlook Disappoint

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  • Nordstrom said its first-quarter net sales were down 13% relative to the same period in fiscal 2019.
  • The retailer reported a wider-than-expected loss for the period, too.
  • The department store chain reaffirmed its fiscal 2021 outlook, despite retail rivals Macy's and Kohl's hiking their annual forecasts in recent days.

Nordstrom reported Tuesday better-than-expected fiscal first-quarter sales, as shoppers showed up to its stores again to buy new shoes, sunglasses and swimwear for social outings.

But its stock tumbled around 7% in extended trading as the retailer booked a wider-than-expected loss, and maintained its full-year outlook, despite other retail rivals boosting their forecasts in recent days.

Management said elevated labor and shipping costs, in addition to supply chain constraints in the apparel industry, are creating continued pressure on its business.

Here's how Nordstrom did during the period ended May 1, compared with what analysts were anticipating, using Refinitiv data:

  • Loss per share: $1.05 vs. 57 cents expected
  • Revenue: $3.01 billion vs. $2.90 billion expected

Nordstrom reported a loss for the period of $166 million, or $1.05 per share, compared with a loss of $521 million, or $3.33 a share, a year earlier. That was wider than the loss of 57 cents per share that analysts were anticipating, based on Refinitiv data.

It reported total revenue of $3.01 billion, up from $2.12 billion a year earlier. That beat expectations for $2.90 billion.

Net sales, which don't include credit card revenue, were up 44% from the year-ago period, when Nordstrom's stores were closed for roughly half the quarter due to restrictions put in place during the Covid pandemic. But net sales were down 13% relative to the same period in fiscal 2019.

The company said it has added 20% more items for shoppers to choose from, compared with two years ago, as it invests more in the home, active and kids categories.

For Nordstrom's full-price brand, net sales rose 37% compared with a year earlier, but were down 13% from 2019. Nordstrom Rack's net sales increased 59% year over year, but were also down 13% on a two-year basis.

Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail, pointed out that Nordstrom Rack's results lag those of rivals TJX and Ross Stores, both of which have returned to pre-pandemic sales levels.

"The whole off-price segment is in the midst of a significant growth spurt as the consumer economy opens back up," Saunders said in a note to clients. "In our view, Nordstrom Rack is simply not participating in this boom to the same degree as others."

Nordstrom's digital sales rose 23% from 2020 levels, and were up 28% compared with the same period in 2019. Nordstrom said its e-commerce business represented 46% of total sales in the latest quarter.

The rate of people completing their purchases was up 15% from 2019 levels, Nordstrom said, as more customers came to its website and stores with the intent of buying something.

CEO Erik Nordstrom cited ongoing strength at both its Nordstrom stores and its off-price Nordstrom Rack business that targets more cost-conscious customers, for the year-over-year sales growth. He said the company is optimistic about being able to capitalize on "pent-up demand" during the summer months ahead.

The company's annual Anniversary Sale is timed for the second quarter of this year, he added, which should align with more Americans returning to pre-pandemic activities and refreshing their wardrobes.

Still, the department store chain reaffirmed its fiscal 2021 outlook that calls for revenue growth of more than 25%. It also anticipates digital will drive half of its business by year-end.

Retailers Macy's and Kohl's both recently reported fiscal first-quarter earnings that beat Street estimates and hiked their respective 2021 outlooks.

"While there is still considerable uncertainty with respect to Covid-19, we remain confident in our ability to deliver on our targets for 2021 and generate profitable sales growth as demand recovers," Nordstrom CFO Anne Bramman said in prepared remarks.

As of market close Tuesday, Nordstrom shares are up about 17% year to date. It has a market cap of $5.8 billion.

Find the full earnings press release from Nordstrom here.

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