Target and Nordstrom report quarterly gains

Target Corp. posted a modest 4% increase in profit for the fourth quarter, boosted by increased earnings from its credit card division. Meanwhile, upscale retailer Nordstrom saw net income increase 18% as sales of women’s clothing and accessories increased, and costs were shaved.

Target Corp. The Minneapolis-based chain recorded earnings of $688 million, compared with $658 million in the previous year, The Associated Press reports.

Revenues in the fourth quarter increased 6% to $14.06 billion from $13.22 billion in the previous year.

Total sales at Target discount stores rose 9% to $11.93 billion, while they fell 9.1% to $1.15 billion at Mervyn’s and 6.2% to $800 million at Marshall Field’s.

Comparable store sales decreased 2.2%. They were down 1.1 percent at Target Stores, down 9.3% at Mervyn’s and down 6.2% at Marshall Field’s.

For the full year, earnings were $1.65 billion, up from $1.37 billion, or $1.50 per share, in the previous year.

Revenues in 2002 increased 10% to $43.92 billion from $39.83 billion in 2001.

The company currently operates 1,475 stores in 47 states, including 1,147 Target stores, 264 Mervyn’s stores and 64 Marshall Field’s stores.

Nordstrom Inc. The Seattle-based department store chain reported an 18% jump in fourth-quarter profit, beating analysts’ expectations, as the retailer posted higher sales and trimmed its expenses, the Associated Press reports.

For the three months ended Jan. 31, the clothing retailer earned $60 million compared with a profit of $50.7 million for the same period a year ago.

The company had fourth quarter revenue of $1.75 billion, up 7.3% over the $1.63 billion of the previous fourth quarter.

Nordstrom credited strong sales of cosmetics, accessories and women’s designer apparel for helping push up revenues. At the same time, the company continued a plan to shave expenses across its operations, president Blake Nordstrom reportedly said.

Sales of men’s apparel and shoes continue to lag, however, the company said, mirroring an industrywide trend, the AP reports. The company plans to open four new stores in 2003—half as many as last year—in Houston and Austin, Texas, Richmond, Va., and Wellington Green, Fla.

For the year ended Jan. 31, the company reported a profit of $90.2 million down 28% from last year’s profit of $124.7. Excluding accounting changes and one-time costs such as writedowns, the company’s profit rose to $161 million.

Sales for 2002 were $5.98 billion, up 6% over the $5.63 billion for fiscal year 2001.