Dillard’s Inc. is holding its ground in department store land.
For the year ended Feb. 2, the company earnings decreased to $170.3 million from $221.3 million, when tax changes boosted the bottom line by $77.4 million. Revenues inched up 1.3 percent to $6.5 billion from $6.42 billion.
Fourth-quarter profits tallied $85.1 million down from the tax-enhanced $157.6 million earned a year earlier as revenues slipped to $2.06 billion from $2.11 billion with a 2 percent comp gain.
Management trumpeted the company’s comp sales gains.
“Our 2 percent comparable store sales increase for 2018 is comprised of four quarters of positive sales,” said Dillard’s Chief Executive Officer, William T. Dillard 2nd. “For the year, we held retail gross margin and operating expenses flat as a percent of sales. Additionally, during 2018, we returned $139 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends.”
The mood improved from November when the company said it was a “disappointing” third quarter with markdowns weighing on margins.
Holiday sales have generally missed rosy expectations for retail and investors are holding their breath as the larger players, including Macy’s Inc. on Tuesday, roll out their results for the period.
As worries about weakness on the horizon linger, more investors are starting to look for prudence as companies balance spending to evolve their operations and cater to online customers with expense cuts to help maintain margins.