Nordstrom Comps Going Strong

| About: Nordstrom Inc. (JWN)

Same-store sales at Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE:JWN) grew by 5.1% for the five-week period ended April 2. Total retail sales in March 2011 improved 10.1% to $897 million from $815 million in March 2010. As of April 7, Nordstrom had 115 stores, 91 Nordstrom Racks, two Jeffrey boutiques and one clearance store. Same-store sales at Nordstrom stores (includes Nordstrom full-line stores and Direct) increased 5.5% in March while Nordstrom Rack reported a minimal decline of 0.1%.

Quarter to Date

Quarter to date, same-store sales edged up 6.0% while total sales increased 11% to $1,503.0 million.

Store Update

In March, Nordstrom opened five Nordstrom Rack stores. In April, Nordstrom plans to open a Nordstrom full-line store at Christiana Mall in Newark, Del. and a Nordstrom Rack store at Belmar in Lakewood, Colo. Also, it plans to relocate its Nordstrom Rack store at Flatiron Marketplace in Broomfield, Colo. to the Twenty-Ninth Street shopping center in Boulder, Colo.

Guidance

The company forecasts fiscal 2011 earnings per share in the range of $2.95 to $3.10. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is currently at $3.06.

At the Peer

Gap Inc. (NYSE:GPS), a competitor of Nordstrom, posted a March same-store sales decline of 10% while net sales came in at $1.33 billion, compared with $1.45 billion in the year-ago period.

Conclusion

Nordstrom remains focused on expanding the store network to drive top-line growth. However, a sluggish discretionary spending environment, intense competition and exposure to seasonal fluctuations keep us on the sidelines.

We maintain our “Neutral” recommendation on Nordstrom. The quantitative Zacks #3 Rank (short-term Hold rating) for the company indicates no clear directional pressure on the stock over the near term.

Based in Seattle, Wash., Nordstrom Inc. is a leading fashion specialty retailer in the U.S., offering high quality apparel, shoes, cosmetics and accessories for men, women and kids. The company offers both branded and private label merchandise, as well as a private label card, two Nordstrom Visa (NYSE:V) credit cards and debit cards for Nordstrom purchases.