LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-Despite a flat sales performance, Dillard’s increased its first-quarter net income by 23.4 percent to $117.2 million.
Cost controls keyed the department-store retailer to what CEO William Dillard II termed “record profitability” in the quarter, which ended on May 4. Selling, general and administrative expenses slipped 0.7 percent in dollars and 20 basis points as a percentage of sales, to 25.2 percent, while interest expense was cut 6.9 percent. Reduced cost of goods sold fueled a 130 basis-point gain in gross margin to 39.5 percent.
First-quarter net sales were essentially flat at $1.5 billion, with a 1 percent gain in same-store sales. Home furnishings and furniture were the weakest product categories of the period.