Mall and online retailer Dillard’s capped off a healthy year with a mighty fourth quarter as the Little Rock-based company reported rising sales, profits, and gross margins.
Dillard’s also reported improving same-store sales, a key sign of health for retailers although the fourth quarter helped strengthen that number.
For the quarter ended Jan. 31, 2015, Dillard’s reported net income of $130.5 million on revenue of $2.135 billion, an improvement from a $119.1 million profit on sales and income of $2.034 billion in the previous year’s fourth quarter. Earnings per share stood at $3.17 compared to $2.71 a year ago.
For the full fiscal year, Dillard’s posted profits of $331.9 million on sales of $6.621 billion compared to a year ago when net income stood at $323.7 million on revenue of $6.531 billion. Full year per share earnings were $7.79 versus $7.10 in the previous year.
The full year per share earnings also beat the consensus estimate of $7.75. However, total revenue just missed the consensus estimate of $6.66 billion.
“We finished 2014 with our best sales performance of the year in the most important quarter,” said Dillard’s CEO William T. Dillard, II. ” Our 3% sales increase was supported by a strong 103 basis point retail gross margin improvement, as customers responded well to our improved mix and service throughout the holiday season.”
The company reported that sales trends were “notably strong” in the ladies' apparel and shoes with juniors' and children's apparel also strong. Weak sales were seen in the home and furniture category.
Those fourth quarter metrics referenced by Dillard helped push the company’s full year performance in a positive direction. Dillard’s had a 1% increase in same-store sales in 2014, while gross margin showed a 35-point improvement year-over-year.
As of January 31, 2015, Dillard’s operated 277 store locations and 20 clearance centers spanning 29 states. The company said it planned to open three new stores in 2015, including sites in Utah, Louisiana and Ohio. During fiscal 2014, the company opened a new store in Las Vegas and one in Sarasota, Fla.
Dillard’s stock closed trading Monday at $123.49 per share, up 76 cents. The company’s shares have traded between a low of $82.75 and a high of $126.83 during the past year.