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SEATTLE-High-end fashion retailing was out and bulk buying was in as Nordstrom Inc. watched same store sales drop 5% in the same month Costco Wholesale Corp. experienced a 6% increase in locations open at least 12 months.

Seattle-based Nordstrom Inc. said same-store sales in October, which exclude sales at stores open less than a year, could have been down an additional 2.9 percentage points without an atypical fall sale that occurred the first week of October. Preliminary results for all of the third quarter foretell a 5.8% slip from last year, with nine-month numbers off by a less significant 2.7%.

Overall sales in October of $424.9 million were off just 1.7% from last year. Preliminary sales totals for the third-quarter as a whole are off 1.9% from last year to $1.2 billion, with year-to-date sales actually up 3.4% to $4 billion. The company expects to report final third-quarter results Nov. 15.

Costco Wholesale Corp. of Issaquah is reporting net revenue of $2.83 billion for the four weeks ended Nov. 4, an increase of 13% when compared to the same period in 2000. Net sales for the first nine weeks of its 2002 fiscal year, $6.09 billion, were 11% higher than the comparable period last year.

Costco now operates 375 warehouse stores, 274 in the United States, and has plans to open 10 to 11 new warehouses prior to the end of 2001. Nordstrom operates 126 stores located in 25 states, including 79 full-line stores, 41 Nordstrom Racks, three US Faconnable boutiques, two freestanding shoe stores, and one clearance store.

Shares of Nordstrom in early afternoon trading Thursday stood at $16.39, up 49 cents from Wednesday’s close. Nordstrom shares hit a 52-week low of $13.80 on Sept. 27. Eight weeks earlier, shares were at a 52-week high of $22.97.

Costco shares stood at $43.03 Thursday afternoon, up $1.66 (4.01%) from Wednesday’s close and a long way from its 52-week low of $29.83, which came a week earlier than Nordstrom’s low. Costco’s 52-week high came in February, when shares traded for as much as $46.37.

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