Nordstrom misses sales estimates as pandemic hits formal wear demand

Adds background, details on sales, profit

Nov 24 (Reuters)Nordstrom Inc JWN.N missed estimates for quarterly sales on Tuesday as weak store traffic at U.S. fashion retailers during the COVID-19 pandemic hammered demand for formal apparel.

U.S. department stores, which were struggling to boost sales even before the pandemic, have poured millions into their supply chains and online operations ahead of the holiday season, to keep pace with deeper-pocketed retailers like Walmart Inc WMT.N and Target Corp TGT.N.

Nordstrom’s online focus as well as its annual Anniversary Sale being moved to the third quarter from the second helped its digital business grow 37%, although that did not offset sales declines at its brick-and-mortar stores.

Seattle, Washington-based Nordstrom’s net sales fell to about $3 billion in the third quarter ended Oct. 31, from $3.57 billion last year, versus a Refinitiv IBES estimate of $3.12 billion.

Net earnings more than halved to $53 million, or 34 cents per share.

(Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru and Melissa Fares in New York; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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