Why Nordstrom Earnings Are Not What Investors Hoped For

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Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE: JWN) reported fourth-quarter and full fiscal-year 2017 results after markets closed Thursday evening. The department store giant posted quarterly diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.89 on revenues of $4.7 billion. In the same period a year ago, Nordstrom reported EPS of $1.27 on revenues of $4.32 billion. Fourth-quarter results compare to the consensus estimates for EPS of $1.24 and $4.62 billion in revenue. EPS includes a negative impact of $0.31 per share related to changes in U.S. tax law.

For the full year Nordstrom reported EPS of $2.59 (including the same $0.31 per share negative impact) and revenues of $15.48 billion compared with 2016 EPS of $2.02 and revenues of $14.76. Analysts were looking for EPS of $2.95 and revenues of $15.39 billion.

Comparable store sales for the quarter rose 2.6%. Net sales rose 8.4% year over year. For the full year net sales were up 4.4% and same-store sales rose 0.8%. 2017 was a 53-week year and the fourth quarter was a 14-week period.

The company reported that quarterly online sales growth totaled 12.4% at Nordstrom.com and full-year sales growth rose 13.1%.

The company guided net sale for the new fiscal year to $15.2 to $15.4 billion with a rise of 0.5% to 1.5% in same store sales. EPS, excluding any impact from share buybacks, are guided at $3.30 to $3.55.

Consensus estimates call for first-quarter EPS of $0.43 on revenues of $3.44 billion. For the full year analysts were looking for EPS of $3.30 on sales of $15.66 billion.

Even excluding the impact of changes to U.S. tax law, Nordstrom missed on EPS estimates. Worse, 2018 revenue guidance is quite short of expectations, even though the EPS estimate is better than expected. The biggest disappointment, however, must be that the hoped-for offer to take the company private did not materialize.

Shares traded down about 4.3% in Thursday’s after-hours session, at $48.32, after closing at $50.48, down 1.6% for the day. The stock’s 52-week range is $37.79 to $54.00. The consensus 12-month price target on the stock was $49.76 before today’s results were announced. The high price target was $60.00.