US-based department store chain Nordstrom reported a drop in its net earnings for 2012 second quarter that ended 28 July 2012 to $156m, compared to $175m for the corresponding quarter of the 2011 fiscal.

The retailer’s same-store sales for the quarter increased by 4.5% when compared to the same period last year, while its net sales in the quarter were $2.92bn, up 7.4%, net sales for the corresponding period of 2011 stood at $2.72bn.

Total revenues of the company for the three-month period were $3bn, an increase from the $2.8bn in Q2 2011.

Top-performing merchandise categories in the latest period included handbags, women’s shoes and cosmetics, while the South and Midwest regions were the top-performing geographic areas.

Cost of sales and related buying and occupancy costs rose 9.1% to $1.88bn.

The results were affected by the timing of the company’s biggest annual sale that pushed some of the promotions into August.

The US retail chain is planning to open 15 new stores in 2012 and additional 24 stores in 2013 to expand its retail presence.

Based on the strong performance at its outlet stores, Nordstrom said that it will accelerate the pace of Rack’s expansion by opening around 230 Nordstrom Rack stores by the end of 2016.

Founded as a shoe store in Seattle in 1901, Nordstrom operates 231 stores in 31 states of US, including 117 full-line stores, 110 Nordstrom Racks, two Jeffrey boutiques, one treasure&bond store and one clearance store.

Nordstrom also serves customers through Nordstrom.com while also operating in the online private sale marketplace through its subsidiary HauteLook.