Retail Rockets on Positive Earnings

Brittney Barrett  |

A bevy of positive earnings helped heat up retail during the market rebound. Nordstrom Inc.'s (JWN) lead the way after it announced a fiscal second-quarter earnings increase of 20 percent. The slowing economy had little impact on the upscale department store. The company said customers were most enthusiastic about designer merchandise for the quarter. The designer demand confirms the old adage that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer, a fact that perhaps helped boost shares of Nordstrom for the day. The company has done well this year, up nearly 26 percent for the year while the broader market remains flat.


The company revised its earnings guidance for the year by 15 cents, to $3.10 from $2.95. This directly reverse the company’s decision to cut its guidance after the acquisition of a "flash-sale" website company called, HauteLook Inc. A stronger projection for same-store sales projection of between 4 and 6 percent led the company to tack on the addition 15 cents per share.

Data indicating that Nordstrom customers purchased full priced merchandise in equal measure as before the recession helped increase investor confidence in the company’s stability. Additional data regarding the companies discount Rack stores which tend to thrive during economic downturns also drove shares higher. The Rack division announced 23 percent growth in net sales with same-store sales adding 4.8 percent.

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Luxury retailers weren’t the only ones making big moves tosay in trading. Department-store Kohl’s Corp. (KSS) also pushed higher on second-quarter profits that surpassed analyst expectations. Shares flew after the company’s second-quarter profit added 16.5 percent to $303 million, or $1.09 a share. Kohl’s credited the rise to its strategy to off-set cost inflation by offering select products exclusively in-store.

Like at Nordstrom, well known brands drove demand. The company’s Simply Vera by Vera Wang line and Food Network kitchen appliances helped the company widen its gross margin. The mark-up on the goods are expected to  alleviate the 10-15 percent cost inflation expected in apparel by the fall.

J.C. Penney Co. (JCP), which just completed its first quarter under the leadership of former Apple (AAPL) retail executive, was also considerably higher ahead of earnings. Analysts are forecasting JC Penney will report quarterly profit up 6 percent. Johnson was expected to help bring the ailing company to greater profitability.


 Macy’s Inc.(M) was also up for the day after Wednesday’s report indicating a 64 percent increase in second-quarter earnings.


Sears Holdings Corp. (SHLD) was also higher on the buzz. A report from the National Retail Federation survey indicated the department store industry may be in for its most significant resurgence in traffic for the back to school season.  The survey indicated 57 percent,of back-to-school shoppers intend to visit a department store over the course of their fall shopping. At 4.1 percent more than 2010, that’s the biggest leap in the survey’s eight-year history.


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