US-based department store chain Dillard’s has recorded $1.61bn in net sales for the first quarter (Q1) of the fiscal year 2022 (FY22), compared with $1.33bn a year earlier.

For the 13 weeks to 30 April, the company’s total retail sales were $1.581bn, up by 22% against $1.3bn in the three months to 1 May last year.

The figure excludes Dillard’s construction business, CDI Contractors.

Dillard’s comparable stores sales for Q1 increased by 23% from a year earlier.

Sales were driven by stronger performance in the company’s men’s apparel and accessories, ladies’ apparel and juniors’ and children’s apparel categories.

Dillard’s net income grew from $158.2m in Q1 2021 to $251.1m, while its earnings per share were $13.68, against $7.25 a year previous.

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The company’s retail gross margin increased to 47.3% of its sales this year compared with 42.6% of sales in FY21.

Its inventory rose by 4% in Q1, following a 17% decrease in the first quarter of last year.

Dillard’s CEO William Dillard said: “Our customer responded well to our merchandise in the first quarter, producing a 23% increase in same-store sales.

“From this strong sell-through, we reported a record high retail gross margin of 47.3%, leading to net income of $251m, or $13.68 per share.

“We ended the quarter with $862m in cash, after share repurchases totalling $187m.”

Dillard’s expects its capital expenditures for FY22 to be $150m, compared with $104m in FY21.

The company operates a network of 251 locations and 29 clearance centres across 29 US states, as well as an e-commerce service.

During Q1, it opened a 160,000ft² location at University Place in Orem, Utah.

In February, Dillard’s reported a 29.3% increase in net sales to $2.11bn in the fourth quarter of FY21, a $1.57bn increase year-on-year.