Santa comes early for Nordstrom

It is starting to look a lot like Christmas for high-end retailer Nordstrom.

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Riding the wave of its much-ballyhooed opening in New York City last month, the Seattle-based department store saw its shares rally more than 8 percent in after-hours trading following the release of third-quarter earnings. While the new flagship store in Manhattan has gotten its fair share of attention as holiday shopping season prepares to get underway, for Nordstrom's bottom line it was the performance of its Nordstrom Rack off-price stores -- with a sales increase of 1.2 percent -- and its digital sales -- up 7 percent -- that helped drive up the company's net income to $126 million (or 81 cents a share) compared from last year's $67 million (or 39 cents a share).

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Best-selling brands that helped drive sales for the quarter were Topshop, Nike Inc (NKE.N), Canada Goose, Louis Vuitton and Valentino, Nordstrom co-President Erik Nordstrom said on a call with investors.

The company is also making an attempt to attract new customers while offering new opportunities to retain long-time shoppers with some new concept stores dubbed “Nordstrom Local.” These shops will carry no inventory and operate as a pickup center for online orders and returns -- not unlike the arrangement Amazon has with Kohl's stores. The Nordstrom outlets will also offer personal styling and tailoring.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
JWNNORDSTROM37.56+0.15+0.40%

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But in the days (and quarters) ahead, retail watchers will have their eyes focused on West 57th Street in New York and the new 320,000-square-foot flagship store. Last month co-president Pete Nordstrom told investment analysts at the New York Stock Exchange that the goal for the store was simple: "to make the most modern, relevant Nordstrom store possible."

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