Nordstrom: High-Class Profits

The seller of impressive merchandise boasts impressive earnings -- and a surprisingly down-to-earth stock price.

If you want a pair of Amalfi slingbacks, you can buy them at several boutiques and at a couple of department stores. But if want to buy them in a space surrounded by a wonderland of other high-fashion merchandise for the entire family and you want top-notch service to boot, you go to Nordstrom.

The Seattle-based retailer is so firmly entrenched as the go-to clothier for the well-to-do that even Wall Street has a hard time realizing how good it is. On May 18, Nordstrom (symbol JWN) posted earnings for the quarter that ended May 5 of 60 cents a share, or three cents a share more than analysts expected.

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Bob Frick
Senior Editor, Kiplinger's Personal Finance