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Dillard’s Inc. profits gained solidly in the fourth quarter, but investors were hoping for a little more and the stock fell 9.4 percent Monday.
The retailer’s net income increased 14.1 percent in the quarter to $161.4 million, or $3.36 a diluted share, from $141.5 million, or $2.77, a year ago. Revenues for the 14 weeks ended Feb. 2 gained 7.1 percent to $2.15 billion from $2.01 billion. The most recent fiscal quarter included one extra week compared with a year earlier. Stripping out the extra week, comparable-store sales rose 3 percent.
Excluding special items, including a gain on the sale of a store as well as store closing costs and a onetime tax deduction, Dillard’s fourth-quarter profits rose 22 percent to $137.6 million.
Adjusted earnings per share, which were boosted further by share buybacks, rose 29.9 percent to $2.87 — that’s 2 cents shy of the $2.89 expected on average by the two stocks analysts who follow the department store.
Dillard’s stock fell $8 to close at $76.92.
William T. Dillard 2nd, chief executive officer, was bullish on the company’s results and its prospects.
“Our positive sales performance and gross margin expansion combined with expense control drove strong cash flow throughout the year,” he said. “As a result, we were pleased to return cash to shareholders in the form of a $5 special dividend during the fourth quarter. Additionally, we purchased $185.5 million of Class A common stock during the year. As we mark our 75th year at Dillard’s this month, we are proud of our progress and excited about the future.”
Dillard’s has been working hard to modernize its operations and reposition itself as a department store with higher-end goods and an emphasis on service.
For the full year, Dillard’s net earnings fell 27.6 percent to $336 million, or $6.87 a diluted share, from $463.9 million, or $8.52, the prior year. Adjusted earnings rose 34.8 percent to $309.3 million.
Revenues for the fiscal year increased 5.4 percent to $6.75 billion from $6.41 billion.