Nordstrom’s sales fall 53% as department store chain suffers store closures amid pandemic

A person walks into the Nordstrom store open for business as New York City moves into Phase 2 of re-opening following restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on June 29, 2020 in New York, New York.

Rob Kim | Getty Images

Nordstrom said Tuesday its net sales fell 53% during the second quarter, as its stores took a hit from being temporarily closed during the coronavirus pandemic, and its online business suffered due to a shift in timing of its annual Anniversary Sale. 

Its shares fell about 7% in after-hours trading. 

Here’s how the retailer did during its fiscal second quarter, compared with what analysts were expecting, based on Refinitiv data: 

  • Loss per share: $1.62 vs. a loss of $1.48 expected 
  • Revenue: $1.86 billion vs. $2.38 billion expected 

Nordstrom reported a net loss for the period ended Aug. 1 of $255 million, or $1.62 per share, compared with net income of $141 million, or 90 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts had been calling for a loss of $1.48 per share. 

Revenue, which includes sales from credit cards, fell to $1.86 billion from $3.87 billion a year ago, short of the $2.38 billion that analysts estimated. Net sales fell 53% to $1.78 billion from $3.78 billion one year earlier. 

Nordstrom said its stores, including its off-price Nordstrom Rack locations, were closed for about 50% of the days in the latest quarter, dragging down overall results. 

Online sales fell 5%, due in large part to the department store chain moving its popular Anniversary Sale that is typically held in July into the third quarter. Excluding this impact, the company said digital sales were up roughly 20% during the period. 

“We’re confident that we can improve sales trends in the second half of the year and beyond,” President Pete Nordstrom said in a statement. 

Earlier this year, Nordstrom announced the closure of 16 department stores, as the Covid-19 crisis took a toll on its business. 

Four major department store chains — J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus, Stage Stores and Lord & Taylor — have filed for bankruptcy during the pandemic, with the category reeling from malls being less trafficked by shoppers, and more consumers stocking up at big-box stores like Target and Walmart. Both Target and Walmart have reported impressive results in recent days, while mall-based companies are seen struggling to stay afloat. 

Nordstrom’s stock is down about 62% this year, as of Tuesday’s market close. The company has a market cap of $2.4 billion. 

Find the full earnings press release here

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