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Dillard’s posts positive Q1 results

BY Vivian Lee

New York — Dillard’s marked its 15th consecutive quarter of positive sales.

Despite weak sales in home and furniture, Dillard’s said sales trends in the first quarter were strongest in the men’s apparel and accessories category and the juniors’ and children’s apparel category followed by ladies’ accessories and lingerie.

The retailer reported total merchandise sales for the quarter of $1.539 billion, a 1% increase from $1.530 billion for the prior-year period. Comparable-store sales increased 2%.

Sales trends were strongest in the Central region, followed by the Eastern and Western regions, respectively.

“We reported record earnings per share of $2.56 compared to $2.50. Our 2% comparable store sales increase marks our 15th consecutive quarter of positive sales. Additionally, we executed $65.9 million of share buyback as a result of our strong cash flow,” said CEO William Dillard II.

Gross margin from retail operations decreased 14 basis points of sales for the quarter compared to the first quarter last year. The decline resulted primarily from increased markdowns compared to the prior-year first quarter.

At May 3, the company operated 278 Dillard’s locations and 18 clearance centers spanning 29 states, as well as its e-commerce site.

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eBay Enterprise upgrades mobile solutions

BY CSA STAFF

eBay Enterprise has released the latest versions of Magento Enterprise Edition (version 1.14) and Community Edition (version 1.9). Both editions include a new responsive reference design theme, Bill Me Later as a payment option and PayPal Express Checkout improvements.

Magento Enterprise Edition will also include faster search indexing. The upgrades make it easier and less expensive for retailers to provide seamless mobile experiences and provide new payment options for customers, improving conversion rates and sales.

“We are very excited about these two releases, as they build on our track record of advancing the out–of-box feature set of the core Magento code, and extending the performance and scalability of the fastest growing commerce platform in the Internet Retailer Top 500,” said Mark Lavelle, head of product and strategy, eBay Enterprise. “The latest Magento platform updates are a direct reflection of our commitment to help brands and retailers quickly and cost-effectively deliver a better shopping experience.”

Using CSS3, HTML5 and natively available jQuery, the new responsive design reference theme is built on modern technologies and incorporates best practices for mobile sites. Retailers are now able to obtain a tablet- and smartphone-friendly responsive site in approximately half the time as previously required, accelerating time to market. Implementing a single responsive site helps retailers control brand consistency, make quick site changes to capitalize on immediate opportunities and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.

“Mobile commerce is growing at a rapid pace and as an innovative company, it is important for us to respond quickly with a solution that enables better engagement with customers and a more consistent user experience, regardless of the device used,” said Christopher Murray, e-commerce leader, global e-transformation at 3M. “Magento’s new responsive design reference theme helped us achieve that on our direct commerce sites, while reducing our time to market by about 50%.”

“Magento and PayPal are further extending their partnership to provide innovative new solutions to Magento platform customers,” said Lavelle. “The Bill Me Later integration provides great benefits for all involved — customers can now spread out payments and retailers can sell more merchandise and drive repeat purchases.”

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comScore: Q1 digital spend hits $63.4 billion; desktop up 12%, mobile 23%

BY Marianne Wilson

Reston, Va. — Desktop e-commerce spending in the first quarter of 2014 rose 12% year-over-year to $56.1 billion, marking the eighteenth consecutive quarter of positive year-over-year growth and fourteenth consecutive quarter of double-digit growth, according to comScore. M-commerce spending on smartphones and tablets added $7.3 billion for the quarter, up 23% vs. year ago, for a digital commerce spending total of $63.4 billion in the first quarter.

Other highlights from the first quarter included:

• The top-performing online product categories were: apparel & accessories, consumer packaged goods, sport & fitness, digital content & subscriptions, and home & garden. Each category grew at least 13% vs. year ago.

• Desktop E-commerce accounted for 11.7% of consumers’ discretionary spending, the highest first quarter share on record.

• Of the additional $7.3 billion in mobile commerce (m-commerce), purchasing using smartphones accounted for 62% vs. 38% from tablets.

"Q1 e-commerce and m-commerce spending growth have seen a modest acceleration versus the fourth quarter, which is a positive sign in light of overall softness in consumer discretionary spending across the broader U.S. economy during the early part of the year," said comScore chairman emeritus Gian Fulgoni.

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