Dillard's reports fourth-quarter results

Retail Editor 2, February 24, 2014

Little Rock, Ark. - Heavy markdowns and lower gross margins squeezed Dillard's profit in the fourth quarter.
Profit for the quarter ended Feb. 1 fell 26% to $119.1 million. Earnings per share were $2.71, down from $3.36 in the same quarter last year.
Total merchandise sales (which excludes revenues from Dillard's construction business) slipped 3.5% to $2.013 billion, but Dillard's noted the recent quarter ran 13 weeks while the year-ago quarter was 14 weeks. Based upon comparable 13-week periods, total merchandise sales increased 1% and sales in comparable stores increased 2% for the fourth quarter.
Home was not among the categories Dillard's identified as strongest during the period.
"Although it was a profitable fourth quarter, we are disappointed in our gross margin performance, as lower than anticipated sales necessitated heavier markdowns," Dillard's ceo William T. Dillard II said in a release. "We are pleased with our expense control as well as with our strong cash flow for the year."
The chain said gross margin on retail sales declined 180 basis points to 32.8%. Dillard's attributed the decline to "increased markdowns in response to lower than anticipated sales."
For the full year, Dillard's net income declined 3.7% to $323.7 million, or $7.10 per share, down.
Dillard's closed three stores during the quarter and six locations for the full fiscal year. The company has plans to open two new stores this October. The company currently operates 278 locations in 29 states.

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