While the rest of the market spun its wheels this morning, shares of Dillard's
Before you friends of Dillard's make with the feisty email, listen. I've got nothing against the retailer. I've shopped there myself many times. But I won't be shopping for its stock anytime soon. The major reason is that this looks like a company that's stalling amid an otherwise robust retail turnaround. You know that rising tide, the one that's supposed to lift all boats? Well, it's doing a much better job of floating companies like TJX
Either that, or Dillard's still has some leaks to plug. Excluding $0.13 per share in special charges, the firm's fourth-quarter earnings came in at $0.74. Last year, without a special gain, earnings were $0.77 per share for the same period. Both comps and total sales were down 4% for the quarter.
Management happily headlined a gross margin increase of 0.2% for the fourth quarter, but the folks in investor relations somehow neglected to mention that gross margins were down a full 1.6% over the past 52 weeks.
For the full year, revenues and comps took the same 4% dive, and earnings reached $0.11 per share. That might seem pretty fine compared to last year's loss of $4.67 per share, but considering the $6.22-per-stub accounting charge taken last year, it looks like a nosedive from the $1.55 in earnings the firm would otherwise have posted.
Until Dillard's gets a little more traction, I'd leave the stock to the truly faithful.
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