Dillard reported sales of $1.3285 billion in the first quarter of 2021, an increase of 73% over the same period last year. Earnings jumped from losses ($162.0) to gains of $156.2 million. Earnings per share jumped from a fully diluted loss per share (US$6.94) to fully diluted earnings per share of US$7.25. Last year, most of Dillard’s stores remained open, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, customers have been staying at home. Chief Executive William Dillard II said: “The quarter is good. With the increase in vaccinations, the release of stimulus funds and the advent of warmer weather, we have seen sales surpass those in 2019. The momentum continued throughout the quarter. We are pleased to report that gross profit margin and earnings per share reached record results. With strong cash flow, we completed a $59 million stock repurchase while still using $616 in cash Ended the quarter.
Strong sales and revenue performance indicate that customers have returned to the store. Retail gross profit margin was 42.7%, compared with 12.8% last year. Inventory was reduced by 17%, operating cash flow was 302.4 million U.S. dollars, while cash used in operations last year was 111.1 million U.S. dollars.
I was deeply impressed by the fact that Dillard’s submitted financial reports to the financial world too early. Many retail companies will report their performance next week, and I believe many reports will reflect the same outstanding performance. The customer’s needs have been suppressed and will be cautiously coming back due to the needs of social occasions. Since every retailer is trying to evaluate the mood of shoppers, the inventory is low. Dillard’s inventory has been reduced by 17%, making buyers more capable of buying fresh goods during the summer sales season.
Dillard has just announced the launch of a limited edition capsule series developed by Kimberly Whitman for Antonio Melani. This is Dillard’s exclusive product, which combines desktop landscape and interior decoration. The series has feminine prints, rich colors and classic entertainment outfits. This is the beginning of the new design, which will make shopping more interesting. At the end of the quarter, the company operated 250 Dillard offices and 31 customs clearance centers. The company operates in 29 states, in addition to an Internet store dillards.com. During the quarter, the company closed and sold its 120,000 square foot store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The company now operates 47.9 million square feet of retail space.