NEW YORK – The Dillard’s department store chain is under scrutiny by one of its shareholders, the New York-based Barington Capital Group. Barington, which owns 3.7% of the company, or about 3 million shares, sent a second letter to Dillard’s CEO William Dillard, II, requesting a meeting to discuss strategies to maximize shareholder value.
Barington’s first request for a meeting in July was denied by the department store chain’s CEO, who referred the investors to his company’s investor relations director.
A press release sent out by the investment group stated: “Barington hopes that Mr. Dillard, as a steward of a publicly-traded company, will reconsidar its request and agree to meet with Barington, who is one of the larger owners of Dillard’s. Barington has informed Mr. Dillard that it would be happy to meet at a time and location that is most convenient for him.”
As MRketplace.com reported last May, first quarter profits for Dillard’s fell 30 percent. Sales declined 3.9% to $1.76 billion from $1.84 billion and same-store sales were off 5 percent.
In their second letter to the CEO, sent today, Barington said, “There is clearly room for improvement at Dillard’s. As reported in Monday’s New York Post, Dillard’s ‘has historically lagged behind its peers by almost every retailing measure.’ Among other things, Dillard’s suffers from sub-par operating margins and sub-par same store sales growth and trades at a valuation multiple that is considerably lower than the industry average.”
A copy of Barington’s letter can be read in the investment group’s press release.
Dillard’s was founded in 1938 by William Dillard, who died in 2002. The company operates about 330 stores in 29 states, mostly in the South and Southeast United States.