Dillard’s Inc. reported net income for the fourth quarter of $2.31 a share, or $84 million, missing the FactSet estimate of $2.48 and much lower than last year’s $3.17 a share, or $130.5 million. The stock was dropping over 3 percent to $69.99 in after market trading.
Net sales of $2.07 billion were just shy of the FactSet estimate for fourth-quarter sales of $2.09 billion. For the fiscal year, Dillard’s reported net income of $269.4 million, or $6.91 a share, which was also below last year’s $331.9 million, or $7.79 a share.
“The fourth quarter was difficult. As sales came in less than planned, we worked hard to control our inventory during an unusually competitive environment,” said Dillard’s chief executive officer William T. Dillard II. “Sales were particularly weak on the Southern border and in the energy-producing regions. Higher markdowns affected gross margin, but we did the right thing as we move on to 2016.”
Weak sales forced Dillard’s into big markdowns leading gross margins to decline 344 basis points for the quarter compared to last year’s quarter for the same time period.
Total merchandise sales for the fourth quarter decreased 2 percent and sales in comparable stores also decreased 2 percent. Sales were strong in home and furniture, followed by women’s accessories and lingerie. The weaker categories were juniors and children’s apparel and shoes.
The crash in oil prices and subsequent layoffs hurt Dillard’s stores in the energy-producing regions. During fiscal 2015, Dillard’s opened three stores and closed two clearance stores. The department store plans to close another store in South Carolina during the first quarter of 2016.
The company said it spent $117.5 million on purchasing common stock. Dillard’s stock has dropped 42 percent over the past year. Dillard’s has missed its earnings estimate three out of the past four quarters. The company did not host a conference call to discuss the results and did not provide any guidance on future earnings or sales.