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Dillard's shares tumble after 4Q short of views

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Department store operator Dillard's Inc. said on Monday that its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings rose 14 percent, slightly below Wall Street's expectations. Sales also slightly missed analysts' average forecast, and shares of Dillard's tumbled in morning trading.

The operator of 284 Dillard's stores and 18 clearance centers said sales trends were strongest in ladies accessories and lingerie, and men's apparel and accessories. Sales were weakest in the home and furniture category.

Dillard's reported net income of $161.4 million, or $3.36 per share, for the 14-week period ended Feb. 2. That was up from earnings of $141.5 million, or $2.77 per share, a year earlier.

The latest quarter's result was boosted by a net after-tax credit of $23.9 million, or 50 cents per share. Excluding that item, Dillard's adjusted earnings were $137.6 million, or $2.87 per share.

Sales rose nearly 7 percent to $2.106 billion from $1.97 billion.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected slightly higher adjusted earnings of $2.88 per share in the latest quarter and sales of $2.128 billion.

Shares of the Little Rock, Ark., company fell $7.27, or 8.6 percent, to $77.65, in morning trading. The stock is down from its 52-week high of $89.98, reached Dec. 3. Shares traded below $60 last February.

Revenue at stores open at least one year, a key retail metric because it excludes the effect of newly opened or closed stores, rose 3 percent in the latest quarter.

Inventory in stores open a year fell 1 percent.

For the current fiscal year, Dillard's said it expects capital expenses to increase nearly 28 percent to $175 million from $137 million in its latest fiscal year.