Dillard’s wrapped up the year on a high note, posting a significant rise in net income and strong comparable store sales, even against pre-pandemic figures. The stars of the show were cosmetics, juniors and children’s apparel, which the company said “significantly outperformed” other categories of business.
On Tuesday, the Little Rock, Ark.-based department store chain reported net income of $321.2 million, or $16.61 a share, for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 29, against net income of $67 million, or $3.05 a share, in 2020. Comparable-store sales in the period jumped 37 percent when compared to 2020 and 12 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2019.
Included in net income for the 13 weeks is a net tax benefit of $18 million, or 93 cents a share, due to the deduction related to that portion of the special dividend of $15 a share that was paid to the Dillard’s Inc. Investment and Employee Stock Ownership Plan during the quarter.
Included in net income for the prior year fourth quarter are pretax asset impairment and store closing charges of $10.7 million and a net tax expense of $19.4 million attributable to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act.
Total retail sales for the period, which excludes the company’s construction business, were $2.1 billion, an increase of 37 percent from the $1.5 billion posted in the prior year.
“We ended fiscal 2021 on a very strong note with a fourth consecutive record quarter,” said William Dillard 2nd, chief executive officer. “Our fiscal year net income of $41.88 per share exceeds any annual performance in our history. Importantly, during the year, we returned $866 million to our shareholders through dividends and share buyback, while still ending the year with $717 million in cash.”
For the year, Dillard’s reported net income of $862.5 million, or $41.88 a share, compared to a net loss of $71.7 million, or $3.16 a share, in the prior fiscal year. Total retail sales increased 53 percent to $6.4 billion, up from $4.1 billion in fiscal year 2020, and a comparable-store sales gain of 8 percent compared to fiscal 2019. Included in net income for the 52 weeks ended Jan. 29 is a pretax gain of $24.7 million primarily related to the sale of three store properties and a net tax benefit of $18 million due to the special dividend.
The company did not host a call with analysts but did say it will open a 160,000-square-foot store at University Place in Orem, Utah, in mid-March which will replace a 200,000-square-foot unit in the Provo Towne Centre. It will also replace a leased building at Westgate Mall in Amarillo, Texas, with a newly remodeled owned facility this fall.
The company operates 250 Dillard’s locations and 30 clearance centers in 29 states.