• Q1 profit jumped 23.4% to $117.2m
  • Sales flat at $1.55bn
  • Gross margin improved to 39.5% 

Department store retailer Dillard's has posted a 23.4% increase in first-quarter profit, helped by one-time gains, expense control and better margins.

Net income reached $117.2m for the 13 weeks to 4 May, compared to $95m in the same period last year. Gains included $7.6m from the sale of an investment and $1m on a pension adjustment, which were partially offset by $4.2m in impairment and store closing charges.

Net sales remained flat at $1.55bn, while comparable store sales climbed 1%.

The company said sales trends were strongest in ladies' accessories and lingerie as well as juniors' and children's apparel. Meanwhile, sales were weakest in the home and furniture category. 

Gross margin improved 130 basis points of sales to 39.5% from 38.2% last year.

CEO William Dillard said: "We are reporting a strong start to 2013 in spite of unseasonably cool weather. Positive comparable stores sales and gross margin expansion combined with good expense control led to another quarter of record profitability at Dillard's."