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MIAMI-Racing to meet its own deadlines of opening 13 new Southeast and Southwest stores within the next 18 months, Seattle-based Nordstrom is creating an operating division in suburban Coral Gables, FL to service properties in Florida, Georgia and Texas.

Geevy S. Thomas, a longtime company executive vice president, heads the new office. Nordstrom remains on schedule to open its second South Florida store in Coral Gables Sept. 27 at the Village of Merrick Park. The 200,000-sf, $40 million store will complement the company’s existing 150,000-sf store in Boca Raton, 70 miles north of Downtown Miami.

The 56-year-old retailer also plans to open its first Central Florida store Oct. 11 at the 1.6-million-sf Florida Mall in south Orlando. That 166,000-sf, $33 million store will complement Nordstrom’s existing 150,000-sf store in Tampa, Fl, 80 miles west of Downtown Orlando.

The firm’s fifth Florida store is slated to open by fall 2003 at the Mall at Wellington Green in suburban West Palm Beach. Each store will have a staff of about 350, Nordstrom has previously said in prepared statements.

Other stores the company plans to open this year are at Dulles, VA, Dulles Town Center, 144,000 sf, Sept. 6; Des Peres, MO in suburban St. Louis, 185,000 sf, Sept. 20; Las Vegas, 180,000 sf, Nov. 1; and Long Beach, CA, at CityPlace, 30,000-sf rack store, Aug. 15.

While its construction performance is on a fast track, Nordstrom’s financials for its first quarter ended April 30 aren’t setting records. The company reported a loss of $24.6 million or a loss of 18 cents per share versus net income of $24.8 million or 18 cents per share in the comparable 2001 period. Gross sales increased by 2.1% to $1.25 billion.

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