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Ahead of the Bell: Nordstrom stock drops

NEW YORK (AP) -- Nordstrom shares fell before Friday's opening bell after the luxury retailer said its net income fell slightly in its latest quarter, citing weak demand for spring merchandise and softer performance in the Northeast and Midwest.

Nordstrom said demand was lower for seasonal products, as well as in the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest, although results improved in April.

It was a rare profit decline for Nordstrom, and results came in below Wall Street estimates. Steady spending by higher-end shoppers has helped the luxury department store increase sales in the past few years despite a slow economic recovery.

Citi analyst Deborah Weinswig, who backed her "Neutral" rating for the stock, said the quarter's results were "disappointing from nearly top to bottom." She said that the company's big spending on its stores, e-commerce and technology — about $3.7 billion in investments planned over the next five years — will weigh on results for the rest of the year. But she still expects Nordstrom's profit and sales growth to pick up in 2014 and beyond, citing growth opportunities including new store openings, particularly in the discount Nordstrom Rack division, expansion in Canada and increased online sales.

Nordstrom shares fell $2.28, or 3.7 percent, to $58.85 in premarket trading. The stock has gained 14 percent in 2013.