CEO Profile: William T. Dillard II of Dillard's Inc.

by Mark Friedman  on Monday, Mar. 26, 2012 12:00 am  


The strategy that Dillard put in place in 2008 seemed to be working by the end of 2009.

For the fiscal year that ended Jan. 30, 2010, Dillard’s reported a net income of $68.5 million. The year before, Dillard’s had a loss of $241.1 million.

“Dillard’s was in freefall. I think we can say they’re no longer in freefall,” Davidowitz, the retail analyst, said in May 2010.

Praise also was coming from analysts. “Dillard’s has responded appropriately to its challenges by focusing on expense discipline, debt reduction, and store closings,” analyst Michael Exstein of Credit Suisse wrote in a March 2010 report.

Dillard’s success continued into 2011. For the fiscal year that ended Jan. 28, Dillard’s reported revenue of $6.4 billion compared with $6.25 billion a year earlier. It was the first annual sales increase since 2006. Its net income jumped 158.3 percent to $463.9 million for the fiscal year that ended Jan. 28 over the previous year.

“We are pleased with our progress in 2011 where we delivered a record setting performance,” Dillard said in a Feb. 23 news release. “In 2012, we will remain focused on creating a clearly distinctive shopping experience at Dillard’s in merchandise selection as well as in customer service.”

Personal Stake

Dillard’s has not yet released executive compensation data for 2011. In 2010, William Dillard II’s base pay rose to $850,000, up from $810,000 a year earlier. Even though he received a cash bonus of $2.6 million in 2010, Dillard’s total compensation, including pension results and stock awards, fell to $4.1 million in 2010 compared with $4.5 million in 2009. Dillard’s pension value fell $824,000 in 2010.

Dillard owns more than 2 million shares of Dillard’s. The value of those shares was $69.66 million as of March 13. Each share currently pays an annual dividend of 20 cents.

Davidowitz, the retail consultant, said in Novem-ber that he thought Dillard’s was going to continue to improve, but not at the pace seen in 2010 and 2011.

“That’s going to be the problem,” he said. “But the bottom line is Dillard’s is performing beautifully.”



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