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Why Nordstrom Stock Is Surging Today

By John Rosevear – Apr 6, 2020 at 12:06PM

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Investors are seeing signs that consumers are still spending online.

What happened

Shares of upscale retailer Nordstrom (JWN -1.18%) are rising today, up 14.7% as of 11:30 a.m. EDT, amid a broad-based market rally as investors grow more optimistic about efforts to limit the spread of COVID-19.

So what

Like many other brick-and-mortar retail stocks, Nordstrom's shares have been clobbered since the company closed its physical stores on March 17. Moves made since to halt the company's share-buyback program, draw down its lines of credit, and suspend its dividend haven't helped. 

A Nordstrom sign on the outside of a store.

Image source: Nordstrom.

But we're now at the point where investors who are feeling a little more optimistic have started to look for bargains, and Nordstrom might be a good one at current prices. Nordstrom remains a well-managed business, with good liquidity and a notable advantage over some brick-and-mortar rivals: The company made about a third of its sales online last quarter -- and as CEO Erik Nordstrom clarified last week, many of those sales can be fulfilled from stores' inventories, easing concerns about its fulfillment centers. 

Of note: Online home-goods retailer Wayfair said on Monday morning that its year-over-year revenue growth jumped in March and has continued surging into April, suggesting that stuck-at-home consumers haven't stopped spending.

Now what

Nordstrom hasn't yet issued an update on its business since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in North America. I expect it will, at some point, given that its next earnings report won't happen until late May or early June. If and when it does, investors should look closely to see what Nordstrom has to say about the performance of its online businesses and its ability to fulfill orders under the current circumstances.

John Rosevear has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Wayfair. The Motley Fool recommends Nordstrom. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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