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Why Nordstrom and Other Upscale Retail Stocks Are Falling Today

By John Rosevear - May 13, 2020 at 4:05PM

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Investors didn't like the Fed's message today.

What happened

Shares of several upscale apparel retailers were sliding along with much of the broader market on Wednesday, after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell shared concerns about the outlook for the U.S. economy in remarks on Wednesday morning. 

Here's where things stood for these three companies' stocks as of 3:30 p.m. EDT, relative to their closing prices on Tuesday.

  • Nordstrom (JWN -4.68%) was down 6.2%.
  • Tapestry (TPR -3.13%) was down 10.9%.
  • Urban Outfitters (URBN -2.73%) was down 5.4%.

So what

Many U.S. stocks fell on Wednesday after Powell said the outlook for the economy is "highly uncertain and subject to significant downside risks," and said that the government may need to spend more to support the economy's recovery from the current COVID-19-induced downturn. 

The entrance to a Nordstrom store in New York.

Image source: Nordstrom.

It's not hard to see why consumer-discretionary investors might have been selling off shares of brick-and-mortar retailers after Powell's remarks. All three of these companies closed their physical stores in mid-March, amid efforts to slow the spread of the virus; all three have scrambled to conserve cash with stores closed; and all three would like to get stores reopened and revenue flowing again.

Here are the latest developments for each.

  • Nordstrom said on May 6 that it will permanently close 16 of its namesake full-line stores, as it builds on a coronavirus-driven acceleration of its online sales and leverages the strength of its off-price Nordstrom Rack chain. 
  • Tapestry reported earnings on April 30, and they were rough: The company lost $677 million in the quarter that ended on March 28, and said that it will cut employees from both its corporate and retail workforces to reduce costs further. Tapestry had said previously that it will extend salary and benefits to most of its full-time store employees through May 30, after which employees of stores that haven't yet reopened will be furloughed.
  • Urban Outfitters hasn't provided an update to investors since March 30, and hasn't yet announced plans to reopen its stores.

Now what

Investors in Urban Outfitters won't have to wait much longer for an update, as the company will report its fiscal first-quarter earnings after the market closes on May 19. Nordstrom hasn't yet announced a date for its quarterly report, but it typically reports in late May; Tapestry reported at the end of April. 

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Stocks Mentioned

Tapestry, Inc. Stock Quote
Tapestry, Inc.
$31.21 (-3.13%) $-1.01
Nordstrom, Inc. Stock Quote
Nordstrom, Inc.
$22.18 (-4.68%) $-1.09
Urban Outfitters, Inc. Stock Quote
Urban Outfitters, Inc.
$19.56 (-2.73%) $0.55

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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