UPDATE 2-Dillard's posts Q3 profit, shares rise

Tue Nov 17, 2009 10:41am EST

* Q3 profit of 11 cents per share

* Q3 sales of $1.36 bln

* Inventory down 22 percent vs year ago

* Shares up more than 9 pct (Adds details on cost cuts, share move)

NEW YORK, Nov 17 (Reuters) - Dillard's Inc (DDS.N) on Tuesday reported a quarterly profit from a year-ago loss, helped by a tax benefit and less inventory to counter weak consumer spending, sending its shares up more than 9 percent.

The department store operator reported a net profit of $8 million, or 11 cents a share, in the third quarter that ended Oct. 31, from a $56 million loss, or 76 cents a share, a year earlier. The 2009 quarter included an income tax benefit of 14 cents per share.

Dillard's reported sales fell 9.9 percent to $1.36 billion in the third quarter. It said gross margins had risen 4.2 percent during the quarter.

Inventory was reduced 22 percent compared with a year earlier. Advertising, selling and other expenses decreased to $88.6 million, to represent 29.6 percent of sales in the third quarter from 32.5 percent of sales a year ago.

The company said it expected recent cost cuts and store closures could yield a decline of more than $275 million in operating expenses for the full fiscal year.

The company operated 302 Dillard's stores and 11 clearance centers at the end of the quarter.

Dillards's shares jumped 9.1 percent, or $1.22, to $14.55 in early New York Stock Exchange trading. (Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing by Dave Zimmerman and Maureen Bavdek)

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