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May 28, 2020, 4:41 p.m. EDT

Nordstrom quarterly sales fall 40%

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By Micah Maidenberg

Nordstrom Inc. said its decision to close stores as the coronavirus was spreading in March hit sales hard during its latest quarter.

Overall, sales dropped 40% from the year earlier to $2.03 billion for its quarter that ended May 2.

Sales were down 36% in its full-price locations and 45% among off-price shops. The company closed its fleet beginning March 17 as officials were imposing social-distancing measures meant to contain Covid-19, including those that called for shutting down so-called nonessential retailers.

Analysts expected Nordstrom to generate $2.38 billion in sales for the latest quarter, according to FactSet.

The Seattle-based retailer reported a loss of $521 million, or $3.33 a share, down from earnings of $37 million, or 23 cents a share, the year earlier.

After-tax charges, including asset impairments from store closures and premium pay and benefits, related to the coronavirus of $173 million weighed on results, the company said.

The company said Thursday it started to reopen stores earlier this month and now has about 40% of its portfolio open.

Nordstrom also has moved to shut down some stores on a permanent basis. Earlier this month, it said it would close 16 full-line stores. Last week, it said it would permanently close its three Jeffrey specialty boutiques.

Write to Micah Maidenberg at micah.maidenberg@wsj.com

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