NEW YORK — Weak sales kept Dillard’s Inc.’s third-quarter results in the red, but margin improvement allowed it to reduce its quarterly loss.

Net losses narrowed to $5.1 million, or 6 cents a share, from $40.1 million, or 48 cents, a year ago. The most recent quarter’s results include an aftertax gain of $1.1 million, or 1 cent a diluted share, for the early extinguishment of debt. Without this, losses totaled $6.2 million, or 7 cents a share, 1 cent deeper than the 6-cent loss that Wall Street had penciled in. Losses for the quarter also included a gain of 5 cents a diluted share for an accounting change. Last year’s third quarter was nominally inflated by an aftertax gain of $100,000.

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