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Dillard’s back in the black; doubles capital spending

Dillard’s started off its fiscal year on a positive note. 

The department store company reported net income of $158.2 million, or $7.25 a share, for the quarter ended May 1, compared to a net loss of $162 million, or $6.94 a share, in the year-ago period. Dillard’s logged a pretax gain of $24.6 million in its recent quarter, primarily related to the sale of three store properties.

Total net sales rose to $1.32 billion from $751 million in the first quarter of 2021 when most stores were temporarily closed amid the pandemic. (Net sales includes the operations of Dillard’s construction business, CDI Contractors.) Total retail sales (which excludes CDI) rose 73% to $1.29 billion in the quarter. The company said the strongest-performing categories were juniors’ and children’s apparel, men’s apparel and accessories and ladies’ accessories and lingerie.

Dillard’s provided sales comparisons to the first quarter of 2019. Comparable-store sales fell 6% and total sales fell 9% compared to 2019.

The company is increasing its capital expenditures to $130 million for the fiscal year ending Jan. 29, 2022, up from $60 million in the prior fiscal year.

"There are a lot of good things to say about this quarter,” stated CEO William T. Dillard, II. “As vaccinations increased, stimulus money was released and warmer weather arrived, we saw sales increase over 2019 levels, with momentum continuing throughout the quarter. We are pleased to report record performances in gross margin and earnings per share. With strong cash flow, we accomplished $59 million in share repurchase while still ending the quarter with $616 million in cash."

Dillard’s operates 250 namesake locations and 31 clearance centers spanning 29 states. 

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