What happened

Shares of Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE:JWN) were sliding again today after the upscale retailer reported a decline in same-store sales and got swept up in the general retail sell-off. Its stock was down 8.8% as of 11:30 a.m. EDT.

So what

Nordstrom actually fared better than its major department store rivals as same-store sales fell just 0.8% in the first quarter, but that number was buffered by growth in online sales as e-commerce now makes up 24% of the company's total sales. Still, comparable sales fell 6.4% at its full-line stores, which make up nearly half of its business, and dipped 0.9% at its off-price Rack brand. Growth in e-commerce helped to balance that out. 

A Nordstrom Rack location in New Jersey

Image source: Nordstrom.

Still, Nordstrom beat analyst estimates on both accounts as revenue increased 3.2% to $3.35 billion, inching past expectations at $3.34 billion. On the bottom line, adjusted earnings per share improved from $0.36 a year ago to $0.43, easily beating the consensus at $0.27.

Now what

The fact that Nordstrom beat estimates but still fell shows that most of the concerns about the company are based on industry weakness rather than its own performance.

Management maintained its guidance for the year, calling for flat comparable sales, an overall net sales increase of 3%-4%, and earnings per share of $2.75-$3.00, which compared to $3.04 last year. Guidance was in line with analyst estimates of EPS of $2.92 and 3.5% revenue growth.

After sliding yesterday, the stock is now down more than 16% over the last two days. While the comparable sales at its full-line stores are concerning, the overall business looks stable. Considering that, I'd expect the stock to soon reach a bottom.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.