Little Rock, AR—Dillard’s Inc. late Thursday posted a 24% jump in its first quarter earnings, beating estimates as its sales rose.
For the quarter ended April 30, the department store posted net income of $95 million, or $1.89 a share, compared to $76.7 million, $1.31 a share, a year ago. That beat analysts’ average estimate expecting $1.67 a share.
Total revenue, including Dillard’s CDI Contractors, construction business, rose 5% to $1.55 billion.
Excluding CDI, total merchandise sales rose 5% to $1.522 billion. Comparable store sales increased 5%. Dillard’s said sales were strong in all merchandise categories except home, furniture, juniors’ and children’s apparel, which were below trend. Best performing categories were women’s accessories and lingerie, followed by footwear, men’s apparel and accessories and cosmetics.
By region, sales trends were strongest in the Central region, followed by the Eastern and Western regions.
“We are happy to report a very strong start to 2012 with our seventh consecutive quarter of increased same store sales as well as record setting earnings and earnings per share performances,” said William T. Dillard, ceo.
However, gross margin narrowed to 39.0% 39.1% for the prior year first quarter. Inventory in comparable stores increased 1%.
Shares of Dillard’s were up in midday trading today. The company’s stock is up 61% since the beginning of the year.