Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN - News) today reported net earnings of $236 million, or $1.11 per diluted share, for the fourth quarter ended January 28, 2012. This represented an increase of 1.7 percent compared with net earnings of $232 million, or $1.04 per diluted share, for the same quarter last year.
Fourth quarter same-store sales increased 7.1 percent compared with the same period in fiscal 2010. Net sales in the fourth quarter were $3.17 billion, an increase of 12.5 percent compared with net sales of $2.82 billion during the same period in fiscal 2010. Additionally, total net sales of $10.50 billion for fiscal 2011 were the highest in the company’s history and represented two consecutive years of approximately 13 percent annual growth.
FOURTH QUARTER SUMMARY
Nordstrom’s fourth quarter performance was consistent with the strong trends the company experienced throughout 2011. The company achieved record sales for fiscal 2011, while continuing to make significant investments in the business to evolve with customers and to enhance its platform for sustainable, profitable growth.
Nordstrom net sales, which include results from the full-line and Direct businesses, increased $232 million, or 9.8 percent, compared with the same period in fiscal 2010. Same-store sales increased 8.4 percent. Top-performing merchandise categories included Handbags, Designer and Cosmetics. The South and Midwest regions were the top-performing geographic areas for full-line stores relative to the fourth quarter of 2010. The Direct channel continued to show strong performance, with 35 percent quarter-over-quarter sales growth.
Nordstrom Rack net sales increased $85 million, or 17.7 percent, compared with the same period in fiscal 2010, with same-store sales up 2.2 percent.
Gross profit, as a percentage of net sales, increased 12 basis points compared with last year’s fourth quarter. The improvement was driven by the ability to leverage buying and occupancy expenses during the quarter.
Retail selling, general and administrative expenses increased $121 million compared with last year’s fourth quarter. The increase was primarily attributable to various customer facing e-commerce initiatives, including HauteLook, and sales growth in both existing and new stores.
In the Credit segment, customer payment rates improved, resulting in favorable trends in delinquency and write-off rates, and a corresponding decrease in finance charge revenue. Annualized net write-offs were 5.4 percent of average credit card receivables during the quarter, down from 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010. Delinquencies as a percentage of credit card receivables at the end of the fourth quarter were 2.6 percent, down from 3.0 percent at the end of the fourth quarter of 2010. As a result of these improvements, the overall performance of the credit portfolio and economic trends, the reserve for bad debt was reduced by $10 million.
Earnings before interest and taxes increased $11 million to $417 million, or 12.8 percent of total revenues, from $406 million, or 13.9 percent of total revenues, in last year’s fourth quarter.
FULL YEAR RESULTS
For the fiscal year ended January 28, 2012, net earnings were up $70 million to $683 million, an increase of 11.4 percent compared with net earnings of $613 million for the fiscal year ended January 29, 2011. Earnings per diluted share for the same periods were $3.14 and $2.75, respectively.
Full year same-store sales increased 7.2 percent compared with fiscal 2010. Net sales for the year were a record $10.50 billion, an increase of 12.7 percent compared with prior year net sales of $9.31 billion.
CAPITAL INVESTMENT AND EXPANSION UPDATE
In fiscal 2012, the company’s capital expenditures, net of property incentives, are expected to total between $480 and $520 million, compared with approximately $430 million in fiscal 2011. The majority of the increase is attributable to investments in e-commerce.
FISCAL YEAR 2012 OUTLOOK
In 2012, Nordstrom plans to continue to invest and build upon the foundation for sustainable growth in top-line revenues, earnings and Return on Invested Capital (“ROIC”). For the 2012 fiscal year, Nordstrom expects same-store sales to increase 4 to 6 percent, and earnings per diluted share in the range of $3.30 to $3.45 for the full year. The expectations include the impact of the 53rd week, which will add $160 to $170 million to total sales and approximately $0.03 to $0.05 to earnings per diluted share.
The company’s expectations for fiscal 2012 are as follows:
Same-store sales 4 to 6 percent increase
Credit card revenues $0 to $10 million increase
Gross profit (%) 5 to 35 basis point decrease
Retail selling, general and administrative expenses ($) $265 to $330 million increase
Credit selling, general and administrative expenses ($) $10 to $20 million increase
Interest expense, net $25 to $30 million increase
Effective tax rate 39.0 percent
Earnings per diluted share $3.30 to $3.45
Diluted shares outstanding 213.0 million
Nordstrom, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading fashion specialty retailers. Founded in 1901 as a shoe store in Seattle, today Nordstrom operates 225 stores in 30 states, including 117 full-line stores, 104 Nordstrom Racks, two Jeffrey boutiques, one treasure&bond store and one clearance store. Nordstrom also serves customers through Nordstrom.com and through its catalogs. Additionally, the Company operates in the online private sale marketplace through its subsidiary HauteLook. Nordstrom, Inc.’s common stock is publicly traded on the NYSE under the symbol JWN.