Dillard's 1Q Profit Another Record, Up 19 Percent

Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock on Wednesday reported first-quarter profit of $112.8 million, a 19 percent increase from the same time last year.

The department store chain (NYSE: DDS) also reported earnings per share of $2.40, up 27 percent from the $1.89 it reported during the first quarter of 2012. Earnings per share beat analysts' predictions by 31 cents. 

Both figures exclude one-time items.

The company also reported a 1 percent increase in same-store sales. In the first quarter of 2012, same-store sale rose 5 percent.

"We are reporting a strong start to 2013 in spite of unseasonably cool weather," Dillard's CEO William T. Dillard II said. "Positive comparable stores sales and gross margin expansion combined with good expense control led to another quarter of record profitability at Dillard's.

First-quarter net sales reached $1.549 billion, flat compared to the same quarter last year and missing analysts' predictions by $6 million.

Total merchandise sales, which the operations of the company's construction business, CDI Contractors LLC, were $1.530 billion, up slightly from the $1.522 billion the company reported in the first quarter of 2012.

Including one-time items, Dillard's first-quarter net income was $117.2 million, or $2.50 per share. One-time items included a $7.6 million after tax gain "related to the sale of an investment," a $1 million after-tax credit related to a pension adjustment, and after-tax asset impairments and store closing charges of $4.2 million.

Share Buyback

In the company's report, Dillard said the retailer's "strong cash flow" allow it to repurchase shares.

Dillard's said that during the first quarter, it bought back 1.4 million shares of stock for $114.7 million of Class A Common Stock at an average price of $79.12 per share under the Company's 2013 and 2012 stock plans.

As of May 4, total shares outstanding of Class A and B Common Stock was 46.3 million, down from 4.91 million in the first quarter of last year.