Former saleswomen at Nordstrom, the nationwide chain of upscale clothing stores, say they routinely buffed the soles of worn shoes and reshaped used lipsticks so they could be sold as new, Oregon investigators said.

A fraud investigator for the Oregon Department of Justice said that former Nordstrom saleswomen from up and down the West Coast told him they sold used merchandise as new, including returned cosmetics and clothing they took off the racks and wore at work.The department released the affidavit in announcing that Nordstrom has agreed to pay $25,000 to the state and tell its employees they cannot sell used items as new.

If the company had refused to settle, the state would have sued Nord-strom.

A spokesman for the Seattle-based retail chain, Dave Marriott, said the company has never had a policy of selling used merchandise and agreed to the settlement to avoid a costly lawsuit.