March 25, 2009, 12:00 AM

Dillard’s is singing a familiar tune with its 2008 financials

Like many other multichannel retailers, web sales are up and total sales are down. In 2008 web sales grew 18.1% to reach $95.7 million compared with $81 million in 2007. Total sales dropped 5.1% to $6.83 billion in 2008 from $7.2 billion in 2007.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

When it comes to financials, Dillard’s Inc. is telling a very familiar story in retailing today. Like many other multichannel retailers, web sales are up and total sales are down.

In its 2008 fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2009, web sales grew 18.1% to reach $95.7 million compared with $81.0 million in 2007. Total sales dropped 5.1% to $6.83 billion in 2008 from $7.2 billion in 2007.

Web sales at Dillard’s, No. 147 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, accounted for 1.4% of total sales in 2008 compared with 1.1% in 2007.

Earnings took a beating year over year at the retail chain. Net loss for 2008 was $241.1 million. Net income in 2007 was $53.8 million.

“Due to the continued dramatic economic decline during the fourth quarter, we took aggressive, but costly, action to substantially reduce our inventory position which was down 23% year over year,” says CEO William Dillard II. “Our extensive cost reduction measures resulted in $67.3 million in expense savings but were not enough to offset the significant declines in sales and gross margin that we experienced during the quarter. We remain committed to conserving our cash, managing our inventory, reducing our expenses, improving our merchandise assortments and emerging a stronger competitor in the long term.”

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