Dillard’s, Inc. ranks among the nation’s largest apparel and home furnishing retailers. Our Company, originally founded in 1938 by William T. Dillard, was incorporated in Delaware in 1964. As of January 31, 2009, we operated 315 Dillard’s stores offering a wide selection of merchandise including fashion apparel for women, men and children, accessories, cosmetics, home furnishings and other consumer goods. On August 29, 2008, the Company purchased the remaining interest in CDI Contractors, LLC and CDI Contractors, Inc. (“CDI”), a former 50% equity method joint venture investment of the Company, for a cash purchase price of $9.8 million. CDI is a general contractor that also constructs stores for the Company. Based in Little Rock, Arkansas, CDI represented approximately 2% of the total assets of the consolidated Company at January 31, 2009. This purchase resulted in a new reportable segment.
Our store base is diversified, with the character and culture of the community served determining the size of facility and, to a large extent, the merchandise mix presented. Most stores are located in suburban shopping malls. Our customers may also purchase merchandise on-line at our website, www.dillards.com, which features on-line gift registries and a variety of other services. We operate retail department stores located primarily in the southwest, southeast and midwest regions of the United States. The stores are located in 29 states, with 51 stores located in the western region, 119 stores in the eastern region and 145 stores in the central region.
We conduct our retail merchandise business under highly competitive conditions. Although we are a large regional department store, we have numerous competitors at the national and local level that compete with our individual stores, including specialty, off-price, discount, internet and mail-order retailers. Competition is characterized by many factors including location, reputation, assortment, advertising, price, quality, service and credit availability. We believe that our stores are in a strong competitive position with regard to each of these factors. Other retailers may compete for customers on some or all of these factors, or on other factors, and may be perceived by some potential customers as being better aligned with their particular preferences.
Our merchandise selections include, but are not limited to, Dillard’s lines of exclusive brand merchandise such as Antonio Melani, Gianni Bini, Roundtree & Yorke and Daniel Cremieux. Dillard’s exclusive brand/private label merchandise program provides benefits for Dillard’s and our customers. Our customers receive fashionable, higher quality product often at a savings compared to national brands. Dillard’s private label merchandise program allows us to ensure Dillard’s high standards are achieved, while minimizing costs and differentiating our merchandise offerings from other retailers.
Dillard’s exclusive brands/private label merchandise program allows us to control quality and consistency of merchandise across seasons and items such that consumers know when they buy our exclusive brands that they are purchasing high quality, consistent, fashionable merchandise at a reasonable price. Such perception clearly furthers our reputation as an upscale department store.
We have made a significant investment in our trademark and license portfolio, in terms of design function, advertising, quality control, manufacturing process and quick response to market trends in a quality manufacturing environment. Dillard’s trademark registrations are maintained for so long as Dillard’s maintains the exclusive right to use the trademarks on the listed products.
Our merchandising, sales promotion and store operating support functions are conducted primarily at our corporate headquarters. Our back office sales support functions for the Company, such as accounting, product development, store planning and information technology, are centralized.
We have developed a knowledge of each of our trade areas and customer bases for our stores. This knowledge is enhanced through regular store visits by senior management and merchandising personnel and through the use of on-line merchandise information and is supported by our regional merchandising offices. We will continue to use existing technology and research to edit assortments by store to meet the specific preference, taste and size requirements of each local operating area.
Certain departments in our stores are licensed to independent companies in order to provide high quality service and merchandise where specialization, focus and expertise are critical. The licensed departments vary by store to complement our own merchandising departments. The principal licensed departments are fine jewelry and an upscale women’s apparel vendor in certain stores. The terms of the license agreements typically range between three and five years with one year renewals and require the licensee to pay for fixtures and provide its own employees. We regularly evaluate the performance of the licensed departments and require compliance with established customer service guidelines. The licensee for the fine jewelry department recently announced their intention to cease operation of all licensed outlets in 2009.
GE Consumer Finance (“GE”) owns and manages Dillard’s proprietary credit cards (“proprietary cards”) under a long-term marketing and servicing alliance (“Alliance”) that expires in fiscal 2014. GE establishes and owns proprietary card accounts for our customers, retains the benefits and risks associated with the ownership of the accounts, provides key customer service functions, including new account openings, transaction authorization, billing adjustments and customer inquiries, receives the finance charge income and incurs the bad debts associated with those accounts. Pursuant to the Alliance, we receive on-going cash compensation from GE based upon the portfolio earnings. The compensation earned on the portfolio is determined monthly and has no recourse provisions. Further pursuant to this agreement, we have no continuing involvement other than to honor the proprietary cards in our stores. Although not obligated to a specific level of marketing commitment, we participate in the marketing of the proprietary cards and accept payments on the proprietary cards in our stores as a convenience to customers who prefer to pay in person rather than by mailing their payments to GE.
We seek to expand the number and use of the proprietary cards by, among other things, providing incentives to sales associates to open new credit accounts, which generally can be opened while a customer is visiting one of our stores. Customers who open accounts are rewarded with certificates for discounts on later purchases. Proprietary card customers are sometimes offered private shopping nights, direct mail catalogs, special discounts and advance notice of sale events. GE has created various loyalty programs that reward customers for frequency and volume of proprietary card usage.
Our earnings depend to a significant extent on the results of operations for the last quarter of our fiscal year. Due to holiday buying patterns, sales for that period average approximately one-third of annual sales.
Our corporate offices are located at 1600 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, Arkansas 72201, telephone: 501-376-5200.