by Brian Lipton

Dillard'sArkansas-based department store chain Dillard’s announced disappointing operating results for the 13 weeks ended April 30, 2016.

The company reported net income of $77.4 million, or $2.17 per share, compared to net income of $109.6 million, or $2.66 per share for the prior year first quarter. Net sales (which includes the operations of the company’s construction business, CDI Contractors, LLC were also lower than in 2015 at $1.503 billion, and total merchandise sales and comparable store sales both decreased 5 percent from the prior year.

Sales trends were strongest in shoes. Weaker performing areas were home and furniture and ladies’ accessories and lingerie. Sales trends were strongest in the Eastern region, followed by the Central and Western regions, respectively.

“Our disappointing sales pressured our gross margin and net income performance, although inventory was relatively flat at quarter end,” said CEO William T. Dillard, II. “While we controlled expenses, sales leverage was difficult to achieve.”

Dillard’s recently closed its 105,000 square-foot Aiken Mall location in Aiken, South Carolina. The company operates 272 Dillard’s locations and 24 clearance centers spanning 29 states and an Internet store at www.dillards.com.