Dillard’s Inc. on Wednesday (May 15) posted flat earnings and same-store sales compared to a year ago as the Little Rock upscale retailer and other mall-anchored department stores struggle to gain market share and keep pace with both online and brick-and-mortar rivals. For the reporting period ended May 4, Dillard’s posted net income of $78.6…

Dillard’s Inc. on Wednesday (May 15) posted flat earnings and same-store sales compared to a year ago as the Little Rock upscale retailer and other mall-anchored department stores struggle to gain market share and keep pace with both online and brick-and-mortar rivals.

For the reporting period ended May 4, Dillard’s posted net income of $78.6 million, or $2.99 per share, compared to net income of $80.5 million, or $2.89 per share in the same period a year ago. The quarterly results included a pretax gain of $7.4 million related to the sale of two stores.

Net sales, which included the operations of Dillard’s construction subsidiary, CDI Contractors LLC, rose slightly to $1.47 billion, compared to $1.46 billion in the same period a year ago. Wall Street had expected the Little Rock department store chain to report first quarter earnings of $2.53 cents per share on revenue of $1.5 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Dillard’s shares closed Wednesday at $63.39, down 62 cents or nearly 1% on the New York Stock Exchange. In the after-hour session, the stock was down $4.74, or 7.5%, at $58.65. Dillard’s and other department store retailers have been under pressure as shoppers remain timid despite low unemployment, lower-than-expected gas prices and a growing economy.

Earlier Wednesday, retail bellwether Macy’s reported that its first quarter earnings and revenue were slightly off from a year ago. At the end of May, Payless ShoeSource was the latest casualty to hit the brick-and-mortar retail sector, announcing that it planned to close all 2,300 of its U.S. stores by the end of May and file bankruptcy.

Payless joined Sears, Kmart, Gymboree, Toys ‘R’ Us and several other giant retail chains who are no longer in business, have closed stores, or sought to reorganize or seek bankruptcy protection through the federal courts. Dillard’s, which did not comment on its first quarter results, has mostly treaded water for several quarters by offering frequent markdowns, clearance sales and an improved online shopping experience.

In the first quarter, Dillard’s said it bought back 200,000 shares of the Class A Common Stock at a price of $17.4 million. Under the retailer’s $500 million stock buyback program initiated in March 2018, Dillard’s has $389 million remaining under the program to repurchase company shares. The Little Rock publicly traded concern’s total shares outstanding of its Class A and B common stock now stand at 26.1 million and 27.6 million, respectively.

Entering the second quarter, the Arkansas department store operator now operates 261 Dillard’s retail locations and 28 clearance centers across 29 states with a total square footage of 48.7 million square feet.

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