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Nordstrom Projects 2012 Profit That Trails Analysts’ Estimates

Feb. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Nordstrom Inc., the U.S. chain with more than 100 namesake department stores, projected full-year earnings that trailed analysts’ estimates amid rising costs.

Earnings per share in 2012 will be $3.30 to $3.45, the Seattle-based retailer said today in a statement. Analysts projected $3.60, the average of estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Nordstrom’s selling expenses climbed in the fourth quarter after it offered free shipping on all purchases and it incurred costs stemming from its acquisition of the flash sales website HauteLook Inc. Sales jumped as the retailer’s affluent consumers spent more freely at year-end than other retailers’ lower-income shoppers who have been struggling with job losses.

Nordstrom’s selling, general and administrative expenses climbed to $876 million from $752 million. Richard Jaffe, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. projected $861 million. Jaffe, who is based in New York, recommends buying the shares.

The chain began offering free shipping on all purchases in August and acquired HauteLook for about $180 million a year ago.

Nordstrom fell 1.3 percent to $51.49 at 4:15 p.m.in New York. The shares advanced 17 percent last year.

Net income in the quarter ended Jan. 28 rose 1.7 percent to $236 million, or $1.11 a share, from $232 million, or $1.04, a year earlier, the retailer said. The average estimate of 18 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was $1.10.

Nordstrom’s retail sales gained 13 percent to $3.17 billion in the quarter. Sales at stores open at least a year climbed 7.1 percent.

(Nordstrom’s executives will host a conference call at 4:45 to discuss earnings. To listen, click on LIVE <GO>.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Cotten Timberlake in Washington at ctimberlake@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net.

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