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Nordstrom Q4 profit up 20%; upbeat for 2013

BY Marianne Wilson

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Seattle — Nordstrom Inc. on Thursday reported that its fourth-quarter profit rose 20% to $284 million, compared to $236 million a year earlier. The company also forecast further increases in same-store sales for its new fiscal year.

Revenue for the three months ended Feb. 2 rose 13.5% to $3.6 billion, from $3.17 billion. Same-store sales, which consist of the full-line and direct businesses, rose 6.3%.

Direct sales surpassed $1 billion dollars this year for the first time in Nordstrom’s history, driven by a same-store sales increase of 31% in the fourth quarter on top of last year’s increase of 35% for the same period. Direct sales growth continues to outpace the overall company, reflecting ongoing initiatives to improve the customer experience online, Nordstrom said.

The company said Nordstrom Rack, which opened 15 stores in fiscal 2012, continued to demonstrate strong sales growth in the fourth quarter with a 23% increase in net sales. Same-store sales increased 7.1% for the Rack, its largest fourth quarter increase in the last six years.

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Survey details impact of payroll tax changes on retail

BY Marianne Wilson

Washington, D.C. — Nearly three-quarters (73.3%) of consumers say their spending plans are taking a hit due to the recent payroll tax changes, according to NRF’s 2013 Tax Returns Survey conducted by BIGinsight.

When asked how the new federal tax laws have affected spending, saving or budgeting of their households, nearly six in 10 (58.2%) of those polled say their plans have been either somewhat or greatly impacted. Specifically, nearly half (45.7%) say they will spend less overall, and 35.6% will watch for sales more often.

Additionally, one-third (33.5%) will reduce how much they dine out and 24.5% will spend less on “little luxuries,” such as trips to coffee shops, manicures and high-end cosmetic items.

Of those greatly impacted, nearly half (49.2%) will delay major purchases, such as a car, TV or furniture, and 58.2% will reduce the amount they dine away from home; another 43.4% say they will contribute less to savings, 46.4% will comparison shop more often, and 54.4% will spend less on clothing.

The survey found that half (50.0%) of those who make less than $50,000 a year say they will spend less overall. Additionally, 23.2% will spend less on groceries, compared to 16.7% of consumers who make more than $50,000 a year, and 27.6% will shop at discount stores more often, compared to 19.7% of adults making more than $50,000.

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R.Jackson says:
May-14-2013 06:24 am

I am also not agree with new federal tax laws due to the bad effect on savings. Your survey is good and you have each and everything covered in this survey. I like this post very much . Thanks a lot for sharing good information.

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Safeway Q4 income increases 14%, topping estimates

BY Marianne Wilson

Pleasanton, Calif. — Safeway Inc. said that its fourth-quarter net income rose 13% to $244 million, far ahead of expectations, helped by its customer loyalty program. Safeway said the program, which offers personalized discounts based on past purchases, is driving market share gains and profits.

Quarterly sales rose to $13.77 billion from $13.60 billion a year ago. Same-store sales, excluding fuel, inched up 0.8%.

In the chain’s quarterly conference call, CEO Steven Burd said that approximately 45% of the company’s sales are from members of its loyalty program. To date, the program is performing better than expectations, he added.

"Our best customers are becoming increasingly more loyal and buying more items per trip," Burd said.

The mobile component of the program, which includes apps for most smartphones and an iPad app, has had higher usage than expected, according to Burd. Digital coupons have also performed well he said.

For the year, Safeway’s net income rose 15% to $596.5 million. Revenue rose 1% to $44.21 billion.

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