Seattle-based luxury department store chain Nordstrom, Inc. announced mixed results for the fourth quarter of 2018 on Thursday, reporting higher than expected profits, while sales came in below Wall Street forecasts.
In the fourth quarter ended February 2, 2019, net sales decreased 4.7%, with total revenues falling from $4.7 billion in the prior-year period to $4.5 billion. According to FactSet figures cited by MarketWatch, analysts had been expecting the retailer to post sales of $4.6 billion.
Unaffected by the 53rd week of fiscal 2017, which accounted for some $220 million in revenues, comparable sales for the quarter rose 0.1%.
Quarterly net earnings totaled $248 million, or $1.48 per diluted share, up from $151 million, or $0.89 per diluted share, in the equivalent period in the previous year. The results therefore came in above analysts’ expectations of EPS of $1.42, a fact which helped push Nordstrom shares up more than 6% in the extended session on Thursday.
For the full fiscal year 2018, the retailer reported net sales growth of 2.3% and a comps increase of 1.7%, with revenues totaling $15.9 billion, compared to $15.5 billion in 2017.
Annual net earnings were $564 million, or $3.32 per diluted share, up from $437 million.
Over the course of the year, the company notably made progress on a number of its key strategies, including the development of its digital presence and cross-channel integration, and the expansion of its retail footprint.
Digital sales, for example, increased 16% to account for 30% of total sales, while some 10 million of the retailer’s customers shopped across multiple channels, a figure which represents a 6% rise compared to 2017.
Including its full and off-price stores, the retailer currently operates a total of 379 locations in the US and Canada, up from 366 at the same time last year. The new stores include the first six Nordstrom Rack locations in Canada, as well as the retailer’s first ever men’s flagship, which opened in New York in April.
In 2019 Nordstrom is planning to open two new full-line stores and five Nordstrom Rack locations.
Among these is Nordstrom’s upcoming 320,000-square-foot New York flagship store, slated to open at 225 West 57th Street in October of this year. Spread over seven floors at the base of Central Park Tower, the store is set to be the largest single-project investment in the retailer’s history.
Looking forward to fiscal 2019, Nordstrom expects full-year net sales to increase between 1 and 2%, while earnings per diluted share are predicted to be in the range of $3.65 to $3.90.