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Dillard's pushes profits up in first quarter

Little Rock, AR — Leaving behind a year-ago $530.3 million non-cash accounting charge that pushed the retailer into the loss column, Dillard's Inc. recorded a first-quarter profit of $24.3 million, compared with a prior-year deficit of $472.2 million.

But pulling the $530.3 million accounting charge out of the equation to level the year-over-year playing field, the Southern department store operator's profits were slashed by more than half in a punishing retail environment, tumbling by 58.2 percent, to $24.3 million from $58.1 million.

And giving an extra lift to the bottom line this year was a $10.0 million after-tax gain, or $0.12 per share, stemming from the sale of the company's interest in a shopping mall in Brownsville, TX, and an extra $7.9 million after-tax credit as the company resolved some liabilities left over from its earlier acquisition of Mercantile Stores.

Hard hit in a notably difficult period for full-price retailers, sales declined by 5.1 percent, to $1.8 billion from $1.9 billion the preceding year. Same-store sales fell by 5 percent. "Sales were pressured during the quarter by continuing weakness in the overall retail sales environment," the retailer said.

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