Nordstrom experiences an above-expected loss nonetheless stemming from retailer closures

© Reuters. The company logo for Nordstrom Inc is displayed on a screen on the NYSE in New York

By Nivedita Balu and Melissa Fares

(Reuters) – Nordstrom Inc. (N 🙂 reported a higher than expected loss on Tuesday as the COVID-19 pandemic closed its stores for about half of the reported quarter and consumers stayed home with no designer clothes required.

The shares of the upscale department store chain fell around 5% after the bell.

Like many of his colleagues, Nordstrom suffered from a month-long pandemic shutdown of its stores in the United States, which brought pedestrian traffic to a standstill. Shoppers who stayed home to contain the spread of the virus did not buy as much high-quality clothing and formal workwear.

"We are confident that we can improve sales in the second half of the year and beyond," said Pete Nordstrom, President and Chief Brand Officer of Nordstrom.

"Our inventory levels are current and consistent, and we are focused on expanding relevant categories, brands, and trends to meet customers' changing preferences."

The pandemic has drastically changed the way and where people shop. Many spend their dollars on sweatpants or "joggers", sports bras and basics.

Nordstrom's bottom line was also hurt after the retailer postponed its popular anniversary sale from the second to the third quarter. The move affected online sales, which were down 5%.

"Digital sales have been falling, which is surprising," said Sucharita Kodali, retail analyst at Forrester Research (NASDAQ :). "They (Nordstrom) said the move to anniversary sales hurt them, but even then, dotcom sales only rose 20% while others saw ecommerce growth of over 100%."

With millions still unemployed, "essential", cheaper retailers like Walmart (N 🙂 and target (N 🙂 are seeing record increases in online sales in most categories, including apparel.

With the winter holiday season in mind, Nordstrom executives said the company would work with other retailers to "bring in pre-Thanksgiving gifts."

Nordstrom will continue to refine its marketing strategy and invest in high-performance categories such as private, active and wellness, they informed the investors in a conference call after the win.

Seattle-based Nordstrom posted a net loss of $ 255 million, or $ 1.62 per share, compared to earnings of $ 141 million, or 90 cents per share, last year.

According to IBES data from Refinitiv, analysts had expected a loss of USD 1.48 per share.

Total revenue was down 52% to $ 1.86 billion, missing Wall Street estimates of $ 2.38 billion.

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