Positive Signs In Retail

Nordstrom and Lowe’s both reported big increase in profits and their CEO’s believe the economy is improving and their sales will continue to improve.

Nordstrom’s Profit More Than Doubles

Upscale department-store chain Nordstrom Inc. reported a 152 percent increase in profits during the quarter ended Jan. 30, underscoring how its strategy of expanding price points and carrying more exclusive merchandise is leading to more full-priced selling. The 108-year-old Seattle retailer missed Wall Street’s profit expectations by two cents a share on higher expenses and credit card delinquencies. The company’s shares fell 3.8% in after-hours trading, to $34.75.Nordstrom maintained a cautious outlook for 2010, noting that it expects same-store sales to increase between 2% and 4%,

Lowe’s Profits Up 27%

Lowe’s Cos. reported a 27% jump in fiscal fourth-quarter earnings amid signs that U.S. consumers are at least starting to consider home-renovation projects again after more than three years of hesitation. Chief Executive Robert A. Niblock said the home-improvement retailer’s first year-over-year quarterly earnings increase in seven quarters suggests "the worst of the economic cycle is likely behind us." Lowe’s expects to see a monthly same-store sales increase during the second quarter—the retailer’s peak selling season.

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