Dillard’s Inc. employed modest expense reduction to squeeze higher profits out of flat sales in the first quarter.
The Little Rock, Ark.-based department store group reported that in the three months ended May 4, net income expanded 23.4 percent to $117.2 million, or $2.50 a diluted share, from $95 million, or $1.89, in the 2011 quarter. Adjusting for special items, earnings per share for the quarter was $2.40, 31 cents above the $2.09 expected, on average, by the two analysts who supply estimates.
Revenues rose 0.2 percent to $1.589 billion from $1.586 billion in the prior-year period, with the more recent figure falling short of estimates of $1.61 billion. Excluding nonretail revenue, sales were unchanged at $1.55 billion for both periods but rose 1 percent on a same-store sales basis on top of a 5 percent improvement in the first quarter of 2012.
A 2 percent reduction in cost of sales, to $937.8 million, allowed the company to boost gross margin to 41 percent of revenues from 39.7 percent in the prior-year period. A 0.8 percent cut in selling, general and administrative costs helped operating income advance 22.5 percent to $180.2 million.
“We are reporting a strong start to 2013 in spite of unseasonably cool weather,” said William Dillard 2nd, chief executive officer. “Positive comparable-store sales and gross margin expansion combined with good expense control led to another quarter of record profitability for Dillard’s.”
The company said sales were strongest in women’s accessories, lingerie and junior and children’s apparel, and weakest in home and furniture classifications. Sales were strongest in the central region, covering states from Texas to Montana.
Among the special items reported for the quarter was a pretax gain of $11.8 million, translating into a 16-cent-a-share aftertax benefit, from the company’s sale of its stake in Acumen Brands, a Fayetteville, Ark.-based e-commerce firm.
The company completed the quarter with 283 department store locations and 18 outlet stores spanning 29 states. During the just-completed three months, it closed a 94,000-square-foot unit in the Cache Valley Mall in Logan, Utah. During the current second quarter, it plans to close its 60,000-square-foot Randolph Mall location in Asheboro, N.C.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)