Nordstrom Misses the Mark

The retailer's earnings drop after clearance sales go sour
Posted July 31, 2000

Nordstrom expects its second-quarter earnings to fall at least 24 percent after its semi-annual clearance sales missed expected levels. And the company foresees further losses, with higher markdowns and increased promotional spending in the future.

The retailer's shortfall this season may be due to premature showing of fall lines. While most other stores are concentrating on clearing out summer stock, Nordstrom has been offering fall apparel, and analysts suggest the customers simply weren't ready for clothes they did not yet need.

In response to criticism for being too sedate, Nordstrom has begun its "Reinvent Yourself" campaign, increasing its stock of contemporary women's clothing. But the image change is not expected to be easy or quick. Some observe that Nordstrom is attempting to serve many different types of customers and can't seem to make up its mind whether it is a department store or a series of specialty shops.