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NEW YORK CITY-Department-store consolidation and its own expansion plans should boost Nordstrom’s growth into 2010, EVP and CFO Mike Koppel said at the Goldman Sachs 13th Annual Global Retailing Conference here.

The apparel retailer has announced plans to open four stores in 2007, eight units in 2008, three in 2009, including one in Phoenix, and two in 2010. A new store is opening in Topanga, CA, this Oct. 6.

“There hasn’t been a period where the opportunity for unit growth has been better,” Koppel said. “Those plans have already been announced, but we’re spending a lot of resources and time [looking for more].”

Two-thirds of the Seattle-based retailer’s $1.3 billion of capital expenditures is earmarked for new stores. An additional $100 million a year will be spent on remodeling existing units.

Anchor closings due to department-store acquisitions, and the growth of the lifestyle center format “has certainly opened the door for us to get into hot properties we historically could not get into, as well as into lifestyle centers,” he said.

However, Koppel cautioned, lengthy approval processes for new shopping centers and then negotiating the deals preclude a major surge. Expansion has increased the chain’s square footage by about 2% to 3% annually. “We’d like to get a lot more clarity before we go beyond that,” Koppel said.

The expansion is part of a three-pronged effort to improve Nordstrom’s operations, including retooling its women’s apparel mix and adding more designer apparel at about two dozen stores. That effort, in particular, has been bolstered by the company’s partnership with upscale boutique maven Jeffrey Kalinsky, Koppel said.

The chain is also focusing more heavily on its website. It now constitutes $500 million in sales, the should be a billion-dollar business in four to six years, he said.

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