by Stephen Garner

Dillard’s has released an update on how it has tackled the Coronavirus these past few months as it reports a net loss of $162 million in the first quarter.

As the COVID-19 pandemic progressed, Dillard’s began closing stores on March 19th as mandated by state and local governments. By April 9th, all 285 store locations were temporarily closed. On May 5th, the company re-opened 45 Dillard’s stores in select markets where allowed. The company re-opened an additional 80 Dillard’s stores on May 12th. Currently, these stores are operating with reduced hours.

Including 24 clearance centers, the company has re-opened 149 locations to date. Additionally, it currently plans to re-open 116 Dillard’s stores and 5 clearance centers next week. Once these additional locations are opened, the company will have a total of 241 Dillard’s stores and 29 clearance centers open. The retailer has a total of 255 Dillard’s locations and 30 clearance centers.

While management is making no assumptions of future performance based upon only nine days of data, the 45 stores that opened on May 5th have produced sales of approximately 56 percent of last year’s performance while operating at reduced hours.

At the peak of store closures, approximately 90 percent of Dillard’s 38,000 associates were furloughed. Dillard’s has continued to provide certain benefits to its furloughed associates. The vast majority of associates invited back to Dillard’s as stores re-open have returned. Currently, approximately 65 percent of Dillard’s associates remain on furlough.

“COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our business,” said William T. Dillard, II, CEO of Dillard’s. “The mall business in general and department stores, specifically, have been particularly hard hit. While our balance sheet was already strong, we took decisive, sometimes difficult, actions to preserve liquidity and ensure our long-term viability. As we re-open stores, we see positive things happening. We believe people are ready to get out and shop. We are hoping this is the start of better times.”