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Dillard’s back in black in 3Q

Little Rock, Ark. – An income tax benefit helped push Dillard’s into a profit during the third quarter.

For the period ended Oct. 31, the department store chain posted net income of $8.0 million, or 11 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $56.0 million, or 76 cents per share, during last year’s third quarter.

The recent quarter’s results included a $10.6 million income tax benefit, or 14 cents per share, from a state administrative settlement and a change to a capital loss valuation allowance.

But Dillard’s also saw gross margin increase by 420 basis points. Inventory dropped 22%, and the company carved out $88.6 million in operating expense savings.

Merchandise sales fell 11% to $1.4 billion, while comps declined 9%.

“We continued to benefit from our improvements in inventory management, where we have focused on more conservative purchasing combined with efforts to better match the timing of receipts with demand,” said ceo William Dillard II.

For the first nine months of the year, net loss narrowed to $11 million, or 15 cents per share, from a loss of $91.7 million, or $1.23 in the year-ago period.

Sales fell 11% to $4.26 billion.

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