Dillard's said it earned $85.1 million, or $3.22 a share, in the fourth quarter, compared with $157.6 million, or $5.55 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue dropped to $2.01 billion from $2.06 billion a year ago.
Analysts polled by FactSet had expected earnings of $2.61 a share on sales of $2.02 billion. Same-store sales rose 2% in the quarter, above the 0.5% increase expected by FactSet analysts.
"Our 2% comparable store sales increase for 2018 is comprised of four quarters of positive sales," noted CEO William Dillard. "For the year, we held retail gross margin and operating expenses flat as a percent of sales. Additionally, during 2018, we returned $139 million to shareholders through share repurchases and dividends."
Unlike other retailers which have suffered from both online and on-the-ground competition, Dillard's has positioned itself well in the retail market, particularly among higher-income shoppers, according to a recent report by JPMorgan Chase. The bank currently has a neutral rating on Dillard's stock, with a price target of $68.
Dillard's shares surged nearly 23%, gaining $15.07 to $81.56 in mid-morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.