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Dillard's stabilizes at end of tough '20

4Q net slips 1%;year’s falls 165% by Serenah McKay | February 23, 2021 at 2:01 a.m.

Dillard's Inc. reported Monday that net income dipped 1% in the fourth quarter, but plunged 165% in a fiscal year roiled by the covid-19 pandemic.

The Little Rock-based department store chain reported net income of $67 million, or $3.05 per share, for the quarter that ended Jan. 30 and includes the Christmas shopping season. In the same quarter a year ago, Dillard's earned $67.7 million, or $2.75 per share.

The results beat the $2.66 per-share earnings estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters on anticipated revenue of $1.65 billion.

Revenue fell 17% to $1.57 billion. Dillard's net sales include operations of the company's construction business, CDI Contractors LLC, as well as merchandise sales.

The company released the results after the markets closed Monday. Its shares rose $2.58 or 3.3%, to close at $80.85 on the New York Stock Exchange. The company's shares have traded between $21.50 and $128 in the last year.

"Our year-long efforts to control inventory and expenses and preserve liquidity have resulted in encouraging fourth-quarter results," Dillard's chief executive William Dillard II said in the earnings report. "Our team's ability to adjust to the changing circumstances throughout the year made us proud."

"We are optimistic increased vaccinations, warmer weather and fresh fashions will motivate Americans to shop this spring," Dillard said.

Dillard's same-store sales, or sales at stores open at least one year, fell about 17% but improved from a 24% drop in 2020's third quarter. Same-store sales are considered a key indicator of a retailer's health.

Sales in the eastern region outperformed the central and western regions, the company said. Home and furniture sales were significantly higher than other merchandise categories and were followed by cosmetics and shoes. Sales were weakest in women's apparel.

For the fiscal year, Dillard's reported a net loss of $71.7 million, or $3.16 per share, compared with profit of $111 million, or $4.38 per share, in fiscal 2019. Revenue decreased 30% to $4.3 billion.

The net loss included $12.9 million in pre-tax dollars related to the sale of a store property and other one-time expenses.

Dillard's did not report same-store sales data for the fiscal year because of pandemic-related store closures in the first and second quarters. The stores had reopened by June 2 but operated under reduced hours, the retailer said in August.

Dillard's operates 250 department stores and 32 clearance centers across 29 states, as well as its e-commerce business.

The company bought back $95.6 million in shares during the year under a $500 million share repurchase program. Authorization of $173.1 million in repurchases remained under the plan as of Jan. 30.


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