Dillard’s, Inc. reported net sales for the 13 weeks ended May 4, 2024 were essentially flat at $1.55 billion, compared to $1.58 billion in the prior-year first quarter. Net sales reportedly include the operations of the company’s construction business, CDI Contractors, LLC (CDI).

Total retail sales, which excludes CDI, for the fiscal first quarter were $1.49 billion, down 1 percent from $1.52 billion in the year-ago Q1 period.

Comparable store sales decreased 2 percent year-over-year (YoY) in the first quarter. The company noted a continued challenging sales environment during the first quarter. Cosmetics was the strongest-performing merchandise category, and men’s apparel and accessories was the weakest-performing category.

CEO William T. Dillard, II stated, “While the consumer environment remained challenging, we focused on profitable sales by offering interesting product combined with inventory control. As a result, our retail gross margin was 46.2 percent and inventory was down 2 percent. For the first time in our history, we reported cash and short-term investments exceeding $1 billion.”

Consolidated gross margin for the first quarter was 44.6 percent of sales, compared to 43.7 percent of sales for the 13 weeks ended April 29, 2023.

Retail gross margin, which excludes CDI, for the first quarter was 46.2 percent of sales compared to 45.6 percent of sales for the prior-year quarter. Gross margin reportedly increased moderately in home and furniture and ladies’ accessories and lingerie and increased slightly in men’s apparel and accessories, ladies’ apparel, and juniors’ and children’s apparel. Gross margin was essentially flat in shoes and cosmetics.

Consolidated selling, general and administrative expenses (operating expenses) for the first quarter were $426.7 million (27.5 percent of sales) compared to $406.4 million (25.7 percent of sales) for the prior-year comparative quarter. The increase in operating expenses was primarily due to increased payroll expense.

Dillard’s reported net income for the first quarter was $180.0 million, or $11.09 per share, compared to $201.5 million, or $11.85 per share, for the year-ago Q1 period. Included in net income for the prior-year first quarter is a pretax gain of $1.8 million ($1.4 million after-tax or 8 cents per share) primarily related to the sale of store property.

Inventory decreased 2 percent at May 4, 2024 compared to April 29, 2023.

Other Information
Dillard’s opened a new 140,000-square-foot store in the Empire Mall in Sioux Falls, SD, in March of 2024, its 30th store. The company also announced the upcoming closure of its 120,000-square-foot Eastwood Mall Clearance Center in Niles, OH, in July 2024.

The company operates 274 Dillard’s stores, including 29 clearance centers across 30 states covering 46.6 million square feet and an Internet store at dillards.com.

Total shares outstanding of Class A and Class B Common Stock at May 4, 2024 and April 29, 2023 were 16.2 million and 16.8 million, respectively.

Image courtesy Dillard’s, Inc.