What happened

Shares of upscale retailer Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) were up sharply on Wednesday, after the company gave a blunt update on the state of its business in a regulatory filing. As of 11:45 a.m. EDT, Nordstrom's shares were up about 12% from Tuesday's closing price.

So what

In a Form 8-K filing on Wednesday morning, Nordstrom said that its results for the quarter that will end on May 2 will be "adversely impacted in a significant manner" by events related to the COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S. and Canada.

A Nordstrom sign on the outside of a store.

Nordstrom's physical stores will remain closed indefinitely, the company said. Image source: Nordstrom.

The filing included some new information:

  • Furloughed store employees will receive benefits through the end of May. Nordstrom closed all of its stores in the U.S. and Canada on March 17.
  • Many of Nordstrom's corporate employees were furloughed for six weeks beginning on April 5. They'll receive no pay during that time but benefits will continue. 
  • The company's senior executives, including CEO Erik Nordstrom, will forego all or part of their salaries through September.

Nordstrom also said that while it continues to generate sales and sell down inventory by fulfilling online orders from its closed stores, as well as its dedicated fulfillment centers, it's losing revenue with its stores closed -- and it currently has no idea when it'll be able to reopen its brick-and-mortar stores. 

Now what

Nordstrom had previously told investors that it has suspended its dividend and share-repurchase program for the time being and drawn down $800 million from its line of credit to bolster its balance sheet. But the additional moves announced today appear to have given investors more confidence. 

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.