Department-store chain Nordstrom (JWN -4.68%), one of the few bright spots of the so-called retail apocalypse, is showing that it's still not entirely immune to the industry's headwind. Although the company beefed up its top line, profits fell, and both sales and profits fell short of analyst estimates.
During its fourth fiscal quarter ending in early February, Nordstrom's sales of $4.44 billion improved on the year-ago comparable figure of $4.38 billion. Earnings of $1.23 came in well below earnings of $1.48 achieved in the same quarter a year earlier. Even adding back in the accounting charge of $0.19 per share would have left the retailer's bottom line down slightly on a year-over-year basis.
More damaging to the stock, however, was its results relative to analyst expectations. They were collectively modeling revenue of $4.6 billion and earnings of $1.48 per share for the quarter ending on Feb. 1.
Nordstrom's lackluster 2020 outlook also helped send shares down as much as 7% following the post-close release of its quarterly numbers on Thursday. The company is looking for sales growth of between 1.5% and 2.5% this year, which it believes will produce profits of between $3.25 and $3.50 per share. For all of 2019, the department-store name earned $3.18 per share.
The company's strongest venues remain off-price storefronts and e-commerce. Digital sales made up 35% of Nordstrom's business during the fourth quarter, up from 33% a year earlier, and revenue from its off-price stores improved 1.8% during the quarter in question. Sales at its full-price namesake stores were up a more muted 1% for the three-month stretch.