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SEATTLE-Nordstrom, which has cut back its store expansion program as new mall development has declined, is waiting for the economy to recover to locate in some new projects, has also executives said at the company’s first-quarter conference call.

Contrary to what many assume, landlord contributions are not the dominant factor in deciding new store locations, said Eric Nordstrom, president of stores.

“The biggest factor is the volume potential of the location,” Nordstrom said. “There are a number of projects that look good to us, but now the volume potential is under our hurdle. When the economy recovers, a number of these could look good again.”

In March, the company relocated and opened a full-line store in Murray, UT; and a new full-line store in Cherry Hill, NJ; followed by a new full-line unit in Peabody, MA; in April. Nordstrom Rack units were opened in Paramus, NJ; Dallas; Sandy, UT; Orland Park, IL; and East Palo Alto, CA this year.

Net sales in the first quarter were $1.71 billion, down 9.2% compared with the same period in fiscal 2008. Same-store sales decreased 13.2%, with full line stores down 16.5%, Nordstrom Direct sales flat, and Nordstrom Rack sales up 1.2%. Net earnings were $81 million, compared to $119 million the prior year.

Nordstrom operates 111 full-line stores, 61 Nordstrom Racks, two Jeffrey boutiques, and two clearance stores.

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