Upmarket fashion retailer Nordstrom Inc yesterday (19 November) reported a 22.1% jump in third quarter profit, helped by the sale of its Faconnable apparel brand.

For the three months to 3 November, net earnings were $165.7m, or $0.68 per share, compared with $135.7m, or $0.52 per share, in the same period last year.

Results included $20.9m, net of tax, or $0.09 per share, for the sale of the Faconnable business, which closed during the third quarter, to Lebanon-based M1 Group for US$210m.

Nordstrom, which operates 157 stores in the US, said total sales in the third quarter rose 5.3% to $1.97bn from $1.87bn, while same-store sales increased 2.2%.

Designer labels, accessories and men's apparel were the best-performing merchandise categories.

Gross profit, as a percent of sales, decreased 38 basis points compared to last year's third quarter, with margins hit by increased markdowns. 

For the fiscal year ending 2 February 2008, the company expects earnings per share in the range of $2.87 to $2.91.