A Dillard's store.

Dillard’s Inc. seems to be slipping again, though investors are apparently still locked in anticipation.  

For the year that ended Feb. 1, the Little Rock, Ark.-based department store chain reported net income of $111.1 million, down by nearly 35 percent from $170.3 million the previous year, the company said in its fourth-quarter earnings release. 

The retailer’s shares were fluctuating around $57.96, a slight increase of 0.18 percent since the market opened.  

Earnings per share dipped to $4.38 from $6.23, and comparable store sales also dipped by 1 percent, compared to a 2 percent increase the previous year. 

For the fourth quarter, net income slumped to $67.7 million from $85.1 million in the previous year’s fourth quarter. But its inventory level dropped 4 percent, while operating expenses remained roughly the same, at $458.6 million for the quarter and at roughly $1.7 billion throughout the year.

Net sales for the fourth quarter were around $1.9 billion, down a little from the roughly $2 billion for the fourth quarter in the previous year. Net sales for the year were around $6.2 billion, a slight dip from the nearly $6.4 billion of the previous year.

The company said also that it fared well in the women’s apparel and cosmetics categories, but not so much in women’s accessories, lingerie and furniture.

“A weak top line weighed heavily on the bottom line in the fourth quarter,” chief executive officer William T. Dillard 2nd said in the statement. 

“We achieved a consecutive 4 percent decline in inventory while maintaining a flat gross margin rate,” he said. “As U.S. department store retailing continues to right size, our conservative financial approach supports our long-term view. We continue to focus on improving our results and on shareholder return.”

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