Reduced expenses and tightly managed inventories helped boost Dillard’s Inc.’s fourth-quarter net income 37.9 percent, the department store said late Tuesday.

This story first appeared in the February 23, 2011 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

For the quarter ended Jan. 29, Dillard’s registered a profit of $109.6 million, or $1.75 a diluted share, compared with income of $79.5 million, or $1.08 a share, in the year-ago quarter. Sales increased 6.6 percent to $1.91 billion, from $1.79 billion a year earlier. Analysts anticipated earnings per share of $1.38 on sales of $1.91 billion, according to Yahoo Finance.

Same-store sales grew 7 percent, as quarterly operating expenses as a percentage of sales totaled 22.8 percent, or $441.6 million, versus 23.5 percent, or $431 million, in 2010.

“We began 2010 well-positioned to achieve notable results, and we remained focused on our core initiatives throughout the year. We executed disciplined inventory management and controlled our expenses while seeking clear distinction in the mind of the fashion consumer,” said chief executive officer William Dillard 2nd. “We are energized by these results, and we are excited about the future of Dillard’s.”

Annual net income more than doubled to $179.6 million, or $2.67 a diluted share, compared with $68.5 million, or 93 cents, for the prior year. Sales rose 2.2 percent, to $6.02 billion from $5.89 billion, with same-store sales up 7 percent.

The retailer’s board authorized the Little Rock, Ark.-based company to repurchase up to $250 million of it Class A common stock, adding to the $18.7 million remaining under a $250 million authorization from last August.

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