Dillard’s Rebounds in Q2

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NEW YORK – Dillard’s Inc. reversed a second-quarter loss on flat net and same-store sales.

For the three months ended July 29, the Little Rock, Ark.-based regional department store chain had net income of $15.7 million, or 20 cents a diluted share, versus a year-ago loss of $12.3 million, or 15 cents. Included in the earnings per share were extraordinary items which cumulatively added 6 cents for the most recent quarter.

Net sales were essentially flat at $1.69 billion and comparable-store sales were also flat in the period. In a statement, the company said that sales were strongest in the West, “consistent with trend” in the East and “slightly below trend” in the Central region.

By category, furniture benefited from consumers recovering from the hurricanes of 2005, but children’s apparel came in “significantly below trend.”

Gross margins gained 110 basis points in the quarter due to “lower levels of markdowns partially offset by lower levels of markups, as customers responded positively to the company’s improved merchandise selections early in the season.”

For the six months, net income tripled, to $77.1 million from $25.7 million, while sales rose to $3.53 billion from $3.49 billion. During the half, exclusive brands accounted for 23.4% of sales versus 22.8% in the year-ago period.

Dillard’s operates 325 department stores in 29 states.

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