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Barington Capital presses Dillard’s on strategy session

Little Rock, Ark. – The hunt is on for outside influence over 328-unit Southern regional department store chain Dillard’s, as investment firm Barington Capital continued to press for a meeting with Dillard’s chairman and ceo William Dillard.

The Dillard’s exec had deflected an earlier request for a meeting, Barington said, as it publicized its second letter, dated Aug. 3.

In the letter, Barington founder and chairman James Mitarotonda, said in part, “While we strongly believe in the potential prospects of Dillard's, whose shares we believe are significantly undervalued, we hope you recognize that the status quo is not acceptable.”

While saying that, as shareholders, his company wants to discuss with Dillard’s management such issues as “inventory management, merchandising and cost containment,” Mitarotonda also said he wishes to discuss “a number of measures to enhance the value of Dillard's real estate portfolio, including the conversion of certain properties into higher and better uses, the closure of unprofitable stores and the sale/leaseback of owned properties.”

No response was given to calls by HTT to Dillard’s management.

Dillard’s, No. 37 on this year’s HTT Top 50 Retailing Giants, had 2006 home textiles retail sales volume of $117.0 million, essentially flat from the year-before volume of $118.0 million. Total company sales for 2006 were $7.64 billion.

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