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Can Nordstrom (JWN) top Macy's (M) Earnings Performance?

November 23, 2021

Solid reports from Kohl's (KSS), Macy's (M), and TJ Maxx (TJX) last week demonstrated that consumers are shopping and they aren't balking at higher prices. LikeFolio's Earnings Scores for apparel-based retailers have recorded a substantial bullish lean this quarter. Abercrombie (ANF) reported strength in its U.S.-based and digital markets earlier today. Domestic sales increased +17% YoY and digital sales now comprise 46% of total sales. However, shares plummeted following its report as its profit margin droppedAmerican Eagle (AEO) posted a stronger performance, with revenue growth of +24% YoY, and gross margin expansion driven by higher full-priced sales, reduced promotions, and controlled costs. AEO is trading higher. It really comes down to how well companies are managing supply chain strain...but demand is palpable. What does data suggest for Nordstrom (JWN) ahead of earnings? A similar theme: building consumer momentum. Check out the scatter chart below, showing QoQ momentum for major apparel-based retailers.

Is JWN falling behind? While Macy's is leading in regard to momentum, it's also important to consider timing. Q2 encompassed Nordstrom's annual Anniversary Sale. So, Nordstrom buzz is building on top of the company's special sales event. In addition, mentions of Nordstrom's discount arm, Nordstrom Rack, are showing signs of improvement.

Last quarter, Nordstrom noted it was leveraging its Nordstrom Rack locations to fulfill online orders: "During the anniversary sale, nearly 40% of next-day pickup orders from Nordstrom were picked up in a Rack store, evidence of the power of integrating capabilities across our two brands." This strategy provides customers with 4x more products available for next-day pickup and reduces average shipping time by one day. Comprehensive digital order mentions for Nordstrom and Nordstrom Rack have ticked up over the last month, currently pacing +17% higher vs. the prior quarter. We'll be watching when the company reports on Nov. 23 after the bell.

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