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Dillard's (DDS) Earnings & Sales Surpass Estimates in Q1

Dillard's Inc. DDS reported first-quarter fiscal 2021 results, wherein the bottom and top lines not only surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but also advanced year over year. Results gained from the acceleration of the vaccination program, an increase in stimulus money and favorable weather. Also, it marked record performances in gross margin and adjusted earnings. Moreover, enhanced inventory, reduced costs and strong liquidity contributed to quarterly growth.

Q1 in Details

Dillard's adjusted earnings of $6.37 per share surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.20. Moreover, the bottom line compared favorably with the year-ago quarter’s loss of $6.94 per share. This uptick can be attributable to improved margins and lower expenses.

Net sales of $1,329 million surged 69% from the prior-year quarter and exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,211 million. Total retail sales (excluding CDI Contractors, LLC) skyrocketed 73% to $1,296.7 million. Solid performance in juniors and children's apparel, men's apparel and accessories, and ladies' accessories and lingerie contributed to quarterly growth. However, comparable store sales fell roughly 6% year over year.

Notably, retail gross margin improved significantly to 42.7% from 12.8% in the year-ago quarter, primarily due to lower markdowns. On a consolidated basis, gross margin of 41.7% reflects a sharp improvement from 12.5% in the prior-year quarter. The uptick can be attributable to better inventory management and robust demand that led to lower markdowns.

Dillard's consolidated SG&A expenses (as a percentage of sales) contracted significantly to 25.3% from the prior-year quarter’s 36.9% owing to lower payroll and a decline in payroll expenses. In dollar terms, SG&A expenses (operating expenses) grew roughly 16% to $336.6 million.

Dillards, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Financial Details & Liquidity

Dillard’s ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $615.9 million, long-term debt and finance leases of $365.9 million, and total shareholders’ equity of $1,537.7 million.

In the quarter under review, the company’s cash used for operating activities was $302.4 million. Also, it bought back shares worth $58.8 million in the fiscal first quarter under its $500-MILLION repurchase program announced in March 2018. As of Jan 30, it had $114.3 million authorization remaining to be bought back under the aforementioned program.

In a recent development, management approved a new share repurchase program, wherein it can buy back up to $500 million of Class A common stock. Also, the board has announced its 209th successive quarterly dividend of 15 cents per share on the Class A and Class B common stock, which is payable on Aug 2, 2021, to shareholders of record as of Jun 30. Moreover, capital expenditure is now expected to be $130 million for fiscal 2021, up from $60 million last year.

Price Performance

In the past three months, shares of this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company have surged 60.8%, outperforming the industry’s growth of 30.7%.

3 Other Stocks to Consider

Target Corporation TGT currently has an impressive long-term earnings growth rate of 10.2% and a Zacks Rank #2, at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Big Lots BIG has a Zacks Rank #2 and a long-term earnings growth rate of 11.2%.

Macy’s M has a long-term earnings growth rate of 12% and a Zacks Rank #2.

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