Dillard's Inc. of Little Rock on Tuesday reported a 20% decline in fourth-quarter net income, and same-store sales fell 3% during the crucial holiday shopping period.
The publicly traded department store chain (NYSE: DDS) said quarterly net income was $67.7 million, down from $85.1 million in the same quarter last year. Earnings per share was $2.75, down from $3.22 in the same quarter last year and missing analysts' expectations of $3.01 per share.
Same-store sales decreased 3%, a big swing from the 2% increase it reported in the same quarter last year.
"A weak top line weighed heavily on the bottom line in the fourth quarter," Dillard's CEO William T. Dillard II said in a news release. "However, we achieved a consecutive 4% decline in inventory while maintaining a flat gross margin rate. As U.S. department store retailing continues to right size, our conservative financial approach supports our long-term view. We continue to focus on improving our results and on shareholder return."
Dillard's said this year's fourth-quarter net income included a pretax gain of $8.3 million, related to the sale of two store properties, and $2.3 million in tax benefits provided in the Taxpayer Certainty and Disaster Tax Relief Act of 2019 signed into law on Dec. 20.
Total merchandise sales, which excludes revenue from the Dillard's construction company CDI Contractors, came in at $1.88 billion, down 4% from the $1.96 billion it reported for the same quarter last year and missing analysts' expectations of $2 billion.
Total net sales, which include CDI revenue, came in at $1.92 billion, down 4.5% from $2.01 billion it reported for the same quarter last year.
For the year, the company reported profit of $111.1 million, or $4.37 per share. Revenue was $6.35 billion.
The retailer said it will open two new stores in places formerly occupied by competitors. It plans a 105,000-SF store at Mesa Mall in Grand Junction, Colorado, during the third quarter of 2020, and a 160,000-SF store at University Place in Orem, Utah in the spring of 2021.
In all, Dillard's has 257 stores and 28 clearance centers in 29 states. Total square footage at Feb. 1 was 48.4 million.
According to calculations by The Associated Press, Dillard's shares have decreased 21% since the beginning of the year. But the stock has declined 12% in the last 12 months.
Also Tuesday, department store chain Macy's reported stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter sales and profits. Macy's report comes three weeks after it said it would close 125 of its least productive stores and cut 2,000 corporate jobs.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)