Nordstrom's online sales drive better-than-expected fourth quarter

FILE PHOTO: The Nordstrom store is pictured in Broomfield, Colorado, U.S., February 23, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/File Photo

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Nordstrom Inc JWN.N reported far better-than-expected same-store sales on Thursday, boosted by strength at its online businesses during the holiday shopping season.

The upscale Seattle-based clothing and accessories retailer said fourth-quarter net income fell to $151 million, or 89 cents per share, from $201 million, or $1.15 per share, a year earlier. Nordstrom’s adjusted earnings were $1.20, four cents shy of analysts’ average estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The retailer said the most recent earnings were hurt by impact associated with corporate tax reform in the United States. These include a $0.25 charge mostly related to income tax, and a one-time pretax investment in Nordstrom’s employees of $16 million or $0.06, the company said.

The retailer reported a 2.6 percent increase in same-store sales for the quarter ended Feb. 3, handily beating the 1.08 percent increase expected by analysts, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Nordstrom’s total revenue rose 8.9 percent to $4.70 billion, higher than the $4.62 billion analysts had expected.

Nordstrom, which bought back 4.6 million shares of its common stock for $206 million during the year, said it would not repurchase any shares while members of the Nordstrom family explore the possibility of a “going private transaction.”

Sources told Reuters last week that Nordstrom’s founding family group is finalizing plans to submit an offer to take the U.S. department store operator private.

Reporting by Richa Naidu; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Diane Craft