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Investors Eye Dillard's Board of Directors

Two investment funds that together own about 3.7 million shares, or 5.3%, of the 71.2 million outstanding shares of department store operator Dillard's Inc., have announced that they are considering putting up candidates for election to the Dillard's board of directors at the company's upcoming annual meeting.

Barington Companies Equity Partners and Clinton Multistrategy Master Fund sent a Feb. 29 demand letter to Dillard's that, according to their filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, comprises an "inspection of books and records" request in which they seek full access to stockholder lists and organizational documents.

The investors demanded access to the documents by last Friday, March 7.

In August 2007, Barington founder and chairman James Mitarotonda had characterized Dillard's shares as "significantly undervalued" and said of the situation: "The status quo is not acceptable." He requested a meeting with chairman and ceo William Dillard, which management declined.

The Little Rock, Ark.-based retailer reported 2007 sales of $7.2 billion, down 5.6% from $7.7 billion a year earlier; comps fell 5.0% in the period. Fourth quarter results have not yet been released; earnings through the first nine months of the fiscal year were $6.4 million, down 93.0% from $90.7 million in the year-prior period.

Dillard's is No.37 on the HTT Top 50 Retailing Giants list, with 2006 home textiles sales of $117 million and a store count of 328 locations.

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