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Dillard's to Trim Mix, Workers

Looking to cut costs amid slumping gross margins and slowing sales, Dillard's said it will pare assortments, reducing product duplication among vendors and eliminating under-performing brands.

"We continue to take aggressive action to navigate these challenging times," said ceo William Dillard II.

The 317-unit chain posted a loss for the third quarter ended Nov. 1 of $56.0 million, or 76 cents per share, compared to a year-ago loss of $11.3 million, or 15 cents per share.

Gross margin as a percent of sales fell 390 basis points, largely due to markdowns, the company said. Sales fell 10% to $1.508 billion, with comps down 9%.

Dillard's said expected availability on its $1.2 billion revolving credit facility following the company's peak borrowing requirement remains in excess of $500 million. Dillard's is also making a "strategic staff reduction" of about 500 associates from among its 60,000 employees. It will affect some 60 of its roughly 2,400 workers in the Little Rock area.

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