Fashion and furnishings chain Dillards Inc on Thursday posted a sharp fall in fourth quarter net profit to $72.3 million from $101.5m in the year-ago period amid a six per cent fall in sales to $2.4 billion from $2.5bn.

The Arkansas-based operator of more than 330 stores said in a statement it swung to a net loss of $398.4m for the full year from a year-ago profit of $71.8m as it was hit by charges related to store closings and write downs.

It added February same-store sales rose three per cent while total sales edged up two per cent to $610.2m from $599.1m in 2002.