First-quarter earnings slid 24.2 percent at Nordstrom Inc. and 26.8 percent at Kohl’s Corp. as both firms prepared investors for more difficulties ahead with reduced earnings guidance.

Thursday’s Earnings Roundup

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Nordstrom said on Thursday that, for the three months ended May 3, income fell to $119 million, or 54 cents a diluted share, from $157 million, or 60 cents, a year ago.

Sales declined 3.8 percent, to $1.88 billion from $1.95 billion, and were down 6.5 percent on a same-store basis.

The company said merchandise margins declined over the prior year as the company used markdowns to align inventory with sales trends. Part of the decline in inventory was also attributable to the sale of the Faconnable business in the third quarter of 2007.

Based on current trends, the retailer said it expects second-quarter diluted earnings in the range of 65 cents to 70 cents a share on a same-store sales decline of between 5 and 7 percent. For the full year, Nordstrom now expects diluted EPS in the range of $2.65 to $2.80, down from the previous forecast of $2.75 to $2.90.

At Kohl’s, net income fell to $152 million, or 49 cents a diluted share, from $209 million, or 64 cents, a year ago. Sales for the three months inched up 1.5 percent to $3.62 billion from $3.57 billion but were down 6.7 percent on a comparable-store basis.

“We remain conservative in our sales expectations for the balance of the year and will manage our business accordingly,” said Larry Montgomery, chief executive officer.

It expects comps for the year to be down 3 to 5 percent and earnings to come in at $2.95 to $3.15 a share. The firm previously had projected profits of $3.15 to $3.50.

The firm added 28 stores in the first quarter for a total of 957 and has plans to open another 47 doors this year.

For complete coverage of Thursday’s financial results, see Friday’s issue of WWD.

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