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In 1938, $8,000 went a lot farther than it does today, and with that amount of cash in his pocket, William Dillard founded the small store in Nashville, Ark. that evolved into Dillard’s, Inc.

 

 

 

 

 

Profile
  • Headquarters: Little Rock, Ark.
  • Founding year: 1938
  • Number of locations as of January 2011: 294 Dillard’s locations and 14 clearance centers
  • Net income for 52 weeks ending January 29, 2011: $179.6 million compared to $84.5 million the previous 52 weeks

In 1938, $8,000 went a lot farther than it does today, and with that amount of cash in his pocket, William Dillard founded the small store in Nashville, Ark. that evolved into Dillard’s, Inc.

Dillard opened his first mall-based store in 1964, and the move proved a significant turning point in the company’s history. One of the cornerstones of the Dillard’s philosophy is that location is the key to success—and he was correct. By the early 1970s, the company had moved into Louisiana, Missouri, and New Mexico and had expanded its footprint in Texas, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

Although Dillard is no longer at the helm of the company, his business philosophies—sound selling methods, keen attention to day-to-day organizational details, alert selection of personnel, and hard work—continue to be at the core of the company’s actions, and the company’s strong growth over 2010 illustrate their importance.

Dillard’s CEO, William T. Dillard, II, stated, “We began 2010 well positioned to achieve notable results, and we remained focused on our core initiatives throughout the year. We executed disciplined inventory management and controlled our expenses while seeking clear distinction in the mind of the fashion consumer. With our strong cash flow, we were able to execute our share repurchase program, acquiring $414 million of our Class A Common Stock as a vote of confidence in Dillard’s and in support of our shareholders. We are energized by these results, and we are excited about the future of Dillard’s.”

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