Dillard’s Earnings and Sales Miss Forecasts Amid Broader Department Store Struggles

Dillard’s has posted fourth-quarter earnings and revenues that fell short of expectations amid broader department store struggles.

For the three-month period ended Feb. 1, the Little Rock, Ark.-based chain posted profits that dropped 20% to $67.7 million or earnings per share of $2.75, compared to $3.22 the previous year. Wall Street had predicted EPS of $3.01.

Revenues also missed analysts’ bets of $2.03 billion, sliding more than 4% to $1.92 billion, while same-store sales declined 3%, against a 2% increase in the previous year.

Dillard’s stock has tumbled 15% year to date.

“As U.S. department store retailing continues to rightsize, our conservative financial approach supports our long-term view,” CEO William T. Dillard II said in a statement. “We continue to focus on improving our results and on shareholder return.”

Shifting consumer demands and increasing competition from e-commerce giants continue to put pressure on major chains, and department stores in particular, many of which have faced slower foot traffic and resorted to widespread store closures.

What’s more, the deadly coronavirus outbreak has injected uncertainty into retail’s foreseeable future, while a number of big-name players continue to feel the effects of a mixed or disappointing holiday shopping season as they lose out to off-price and discount merchants.

In its financial report, Dillard’s announced plans to open a new 105,000-square-foot store at Mesa Mall in Grand Junction, Colo., in the third quarter and another bigger location (160,000 square feet) at University Place in Orem, Utah, in the spring of 2021 — both a result of “peer closures” at those centers.

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