• Q4 net earnings up 20% to $284m from $236m
  • Net sales rose 13.5% to $3.6bn from $3.2bn
  • Direct same-store sales increase 31%

Upscale department store retailer Nordstrom Inc has posted a 20% jump in fourth-quarter profit, but said investments in e-commerce and expansion of its Nordstrom Rack stores would impact profit in the year ahead.

During the quarter, same-store sales increased 6.3%, with top-performing merchandise categories including men's, women's and kids' apparel.

This growth was surpassed by direct sales, however, which passed $1bn dollars this year for the first time, driven by a same-store sales increase of 31% in the fourth quarter.

"Direct sales growth continues to outpace the overall company, reflecting ongoing initiatives to improve the customer experience online," the retailer said.

Strong sales growth was also seen in another investment area, the discount Nordstrom Rack stores, where net sales surged 23% in the fourth quarter. Same-store sales increased 7.1% for the Rack, which is its largest fourth quarter increase in the last six years.

For the full year, the retailer, which operates 240 stores, achieved a 7.7% rise in net earnings to $735m, while sales surged 12.1% to $11.8bn. Full year same-store sales increased 7.3%, the company said.

But in fiscal 2013, capital expenditures are expected to climb to between $750m and $790m, almost doubling the $450m spent the year before.

For the upcoming fiscal year, Nordstrom expects net income of $3.65 to $3.80 per share on revenue up 4.5% to 6.5% . This compares with $3.56 per share in 2012.