By David Moin
with contributions from Vicki M. Young
 on August 10, 2017

Dillard’s Inc., hurt by markdowns and inventory issues, reported a $17.1 million net loss for the second quarter ended July 29, or 58 cents per share, compared to net income of $12.1 million, or 35 cents per share, for the year-ago period.

Net sales fell slightly to $1.43 billion from $1.45 billion, while comparable sales decreased 1 percent.

Wall Street was expecting earnings per share of 19 cents on sales of $1.44 billion.

Shares of Dillard’s on Thursday closed down 15.9 percent to $61.70.

“Significant markdowns led to a disappointing loss as we dealt with inventory, which was up 2 percent at quarter-end,” said chief executive officer William T. Dillard.

The retailer said sales increased slightly in ladies’ apparel. Sales were consistent with the company trend in juniors’ and children’s apparel, ladies’ accessories and lingerie and men’s apparel and accessories. Sales in shoes were slightly below trend. Below-trend performances were also noted in cosmetics, home and furniture. Sales were slightly above trend in the Eastern region, consistent with trend in the Western region and below trend in the Central region. The Little Rock, Ark.-based retailer operates 330 stores in 28 states.

Analyst Matthew R. Boss of J.P. Morgan kept his “Underweight” rating on shares of the stock. He said Dillard’s ended the three months — with inventory up 2 percent on a comps decline of 1 percent and a sales decline of 1.3 percent — “marking the 10th straight quarter that inventory has exceeded sales growth.”

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