Nordstrom storefront
Nordstrom. Reuters

Seattle-based fashion specialty retailer Nordstrom Inc. (NYSE:JWN) reported Thursday a 4.3 percent rise in profits to $145 million, or 73 cents per share, in its first quarter ended May 4. In the same period last year the company made a net profit of $149 million, or 70 cents per share. The company, reporting after markets closed in New York, said it generated $2.66 billion in revenue in the first quarter.

Analysts polled by Zacks had expected earnings of 76 cents per share on an 8.6 percent increase in sales. They expected revenue to come in at $2.63 billion. Nordstrom's gross profit decreased as a percentage of net sales due to costs from the Rack, the company’s growing off-price division.

“While in the first two months of the quarter the company experienced particularly soft sales trends in seasonal merchandise and geographically in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions, overall sales trends showed improvement in April,” Nordstrom said in its earnings statement. Same-store sales, a key retail metric that excludes recently opened outlets to reflect more accurately overall sales traffic, increased 3.1 percent, fueled by demand for women’s apparel, handbags and cosmetics.