FINANCE

Dillard’s 1Q Profit Drops 94

BY CSA STAFF

New York City Dillard’s Inc. said Thursday its fiscal first-quarter profit tumbled 94% on a sharp decline in same-store sales, fueled by a weak economic environment.

For the period ended May 3, the company reported income of $2.7 million compared with $42.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

Total revenue dipped to $1.71 billion from $1.8 billion in the same quarter last year. Same-store sales dropped 6% during the quarter.

The company said sales of home merchandise and furniture declined more than the average performance trend during the period.

“Our first-quarter performance was certainly disappointing,” CEO William T. Dillard II said in a statement. “The weak economic conditions, particularly in Florida, made it extremely difficult to achieve profitable sales levels. The detrimental effect on our gross margin performance was dramatic as we worked to control inventory position. We will continue to run our business conservatively to navigate the near-term economic uncertainty.”

Dillard’s cut advertising and selling, general and administrative expenses by $17.8 million during the quarter, and has announced six additional store closures for 2008. The company said cost-saving measures enacted in the first quarter could save the company up to $50 million this fiscal year.

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Target donates $500,000 to China earthquake relief

BY CSA STAFF

MINNEAPOLIS Target has donated a total of $500,000 (approximately RMB 3.5 million) to support the earthquake recovery efforts in Central China.

Donations of $250,000 were made to both the Red Cross Society of China to aid in basic relief efforts and to Save the Children to provide assistance to affected areas with a focus on providing emergency education and safe spaces for children.

We extend our heartfelt sympathies to all the communities affected by the earthquake and our appreciation to all those who are assisting with relief efforts, said Laysha Ward, vp of community relations for Target.

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BY CSA STAFF

SECAUCUS, N.J. The Children’s Place Retail Stores reported that first quarter net sales increased 12% to $400.2 million, compared to $356 million. The company said comparable-store sales for the quarter increased 5%, on top of last year’s 2% comparable-store sales increase.

Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were 66 cents compared to diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of 64 cents last year.

Chuck Crovitz, interim ceo of The Children’s Place Retail Stores, commented, “Our first quarter results show progress toward our goal of returning the Company to its historical level of profitability. During the quarter, we exited the Disney Store business at cash costs that are expected to be at the low end of our previously disclosed range of $50 million to $100 million. In addition, we began the reduction of our cost structure, announced lower capital spending for 2008 and expect our inventory position to be below last year’s level at the end of the second quarter. Further, we continue to be encouraged by the customer response to our summer merchandise and believe that The Children’s Place, as a leading value player in the children’s apparel market, is well-positioned in this difficult economic environment.”

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