Dillard's Touts Shareholder Returns at Annual Meeting

Dillard's Touts Shareholder Returns at Annual Meeting
William Dillard II

Between 2007-17, Dillard’s Inc. has done more than $3 billion in dividends and stock buybacks, CEO William Dillard II said Saturday.

It’s “the first time it’s been at that magnitude,” said Dillard at the retail chain’s annual meeting at its Little Rock headquarters.

Dillard’s returned $344 million to shareholders in dividends and completed more than $2.6 billion in stock buybacks during the last decade.

The company’s outstanding shares fell from 75.2 million to 27.6 million in the last 10 years. In March, Dillard’s board approved $500 million of stock buybacks.

During the four-and-a-half minute meeting, Dillard also said he was “pleasantly surprised” to learn the company’s stock price was 56 percent higher than it was on the date of last year’s meeting. The stock price was $77.37 at the close on Friday.

The rise in the stock price came during “a year that was really reasonably poor for retailers. The early part of the year especially was not very good,” said the 73-year-old CEO.

He also said the first quarter was “better.”

Days before the meeting, the retailer reported first-quarter net income of $80.5 million, up 21 percent from the $66.3 million it reported in the same quarter last year. Same-store sales also rose 2 percent.

Dillard also joked about the company’s short annual meetings.

“Somebody was telling me about a 15 minute shareholder meeting,” he said. “I said ours rarely last that long.”

Shareholders re-elected the same 12 directors to the board, and Dillard's retained KPMG LLP as its auditor through the fiscal year that ends at the end of January. KPMG was paid $1.46 million in 2017, up from $1.43 million the previous year.