Nordstrom’s full-price business ‘less relevant’ as Rack sales soar

(Source: Bigstock)

Nordstrom‘s revenue increased in the first quarter, which an analyst says reflects the department store chain getting “back on track”.

The company’s revenue climbed 4.8 per cent to $3.34 billion as net sales rose 5.1 per cent to $3.22 billion, with comparable sales up 3.8 per cent.

Nordstrom’s main banner’s net sales grew 0.6 per cent while sales at the off-price chain Nordstrom Rack soared 13.8 per cent.

“The unfortunate truth for Nordstrom is that the full-price business has simply become less relevant. Its traditional bias towards more formal styles puts it out of kilter with the wider market, and its higher-priced bias puts it out of step with the economic mood of consumers,” said Neil Saunders, MD at GlobalData.

Saunders, however, noted at the store level, particularly elevating categories such as athleisure to bring interesting brands like Skims. He further said that Nordstrom has been exerting efforts to improve merchandising and display standards.

“We think these things are helping to move the dial slightly, but not by enough to put the business on a very firm footing,” said Saunders.

“New stores helped growth, but comparable uplifts of 7.9 per cent underline that customers and spending are now returning to Nordstrom Rack after deserting the business over the past year,” said Saunders.

“There is still a long way to go before Nordstrom Rack catches up with the gains made by other off-price players.”

The company said that the wind-down of its Canadian operations negatively impacted its net sales. Credit card revenue fell 2.6 per cent to $114 million. Digital sales slipped 0.2 per cent.

Nordstrom reaffirms its forecasted 2 per cent decline to 1 per cent growth for the full fiscal year revenue. The company estimates comparable sales to range from a 1 per cent decline to a 2 per cent increase.

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