Dillard’s first quarter was all positive. Higher comparable store sales (+23%), net income $251 Million compared to $158 Million. Net income $$13.68 per share compared to last year’s first quarter $7.35 per share. Gross margins 47.3% compared to 42.6%. Operating expenses were down and share repurchases was $185.0 million which is about 735,000 shares. The company ended with $862.2 million cash compared to last year’s $616.6 million.
Inventory rose 4.5% from $1306 to $1365 Million reflecting a tight control on purchases. The stores look terrific, with new merchandised well displayed. Reports from Naples tells me about the excellence of display, customer service and complete assortment. It is not a surprise that Dillard’s dominate Southern shopping.
William Dillard II, CEO of the company said: “Our customers responded in the first quarter producing a 23% increase in same store sales. From this strong sell through, as we reported a record high retail gross margin of 47.3% leading to a net income of $251 million or $13.65 per share. We ended the quarter with $862 Million in cash after share repurchases totally $187 million.”
Dillard’s opened a new 160,000 square foot location in Oren, Utah during the first quarter. It replaced a 200,000 square foot store at the same location. The old store will close at the end of this month. The company also closed a clearance center in Tampa Fla which was 80,000 square feet in size. A new store will replace a Dillard’s store in Amarillo, Texas.
POSTSCRIPT: Dillard’s superb computer system allows the company to be the first to report. It is an indication that sales in the first quarter were good in the South. I await with trepidation the report of the rest of the retail industry.