dillards swot analysis

Dillards SWOT Analysis 2024: In-Depth Analysis Report

Dillard’s has been in the history of the American departmental store chain since just before WW2 and went through many ups and downs, serving millions of customers across the country. And we will get to know how they did that and more in this Dillards SWOT analysis.

Dillards: Company Overview

Company Dillard’s, Inc.
Industry Retail
Founded 1938
Founder William T. Dillard
CEO William T. Dillard II
Headquarter Little Rock, Arkansas, U.S.
No. of Employees 40,000+
Annual Revenue $6.9 billion (FY 2022)
Website dillards.com

Like many other businesses in America, Dillard’s began as a family-run department store in 1938 and has grown into one of the largest fashion retailers in the country. Headquartered in Arkansas, Dillard’s operates over 282 stores across 29 states, mainly in southern and midwestern regions.

Though heavily concentrated in brick-and-mortar outlets, primarily in traditional malls, e-commerce has grown to 5.61% of annual sales revenue, reaching $6.996B in 2023. Dillard’s employs over 29,900 associates across all locations and positions itself as “The Style Authority” for classic and contemporary fashion in its markets.

Product & Services of Dillards
Clothing | Footwear | Bedding | Bath | Furniture | Decor | Jewelry | Accessories | Beauty products | Appliances | Housewares

Dillards Competitors
Macy’s | Kohl’s | Burlington Stores | Wayfair | Costco | Rakuten

Did You Know?

Dillard’s flagship location in Austin, Texas, features an epic holiday lighting display and free hot chocolate for visitors around Christmas time each year.

Strengths – Dillards SWOT Analysis

strengths of dillards

Efficient SCM: The company has centralized inventory and distribution systems enabling efficient movement of merchandise to stores. As a result, it has over 800 supplier networks, allowing new fashions to reach stores within a short period and, to be specific, 1-2 weeks faster than key department store competitors.

Skilled Employees: Dillard’s invests in employee training for customer service and retail operations, and it has been paying off. There are many options for employees and store associates to complete certification programs focused on product knowledge, selling skills, and delivering personalized service. Besides, it is reflected by longer retail employee tenure of over 8 years on average compared to industry peers.

Positive Customer Satisfaction: In annual surveys, Dillard’s outperforms competitors in customer satisfaction, value perception, and brand loyalty. Over 80% of customers rate their overall shopping experience as satisfactory, and 70% join the loyalty rewards program to receive exclusive promotions and early access to sales, drive repeat purchases, and grow loyalty members to over 13M households in 2023.

Weaknesses – Dillards SWOT Analysis

weaknesses of dillards

Poor Financial Position: The company has faced declining sales and profits for the last few years and has struggled a lot. If we look at the data, comparable store sales decreased by 4%, and net income declined by over 60% in 2023 compared to prior years, indicating issues driving store traffic and converting shoppers.

Low Profitability: As we know, gross and operating margins trail industry peers and Dillard’s gross margin of 42% lags behind Macy’s 54% as heavy discounting impacts merchandise sale prices. Additionally, SG&A expenses represent 33.1% of net sales, higher than preferred ratios below 30%.

Limited Presence: With stores in 29 states, Dillard’s has a concentrated geographic footprint compared to national chains. Its e-commerce platform represented only 12% of net sales in 2023, below the over 20% industry benchmark, challenging a growing customer base and online revenue.

Opportunities – Dillards SWOT Analysis

opportunities for dillards

Market Expansion: Dillard’s has room to grow its geographic presence beyond its current Southern state concentration. If we look at the current market trends and strategies, expanding strategically with a smaller format of off-mall locations in dense suburban areas could attract new customers.

Effective Pricing: The organization relies heavily on promotions that erode margins, and Leveraging advanced analytics to optimize pricing and markdowns could improve profitability. Besides, piloting demand-based pricing using machine learning algorithms would enable maximizing sale prices.

Strategic Partnerships: Partnering with major online marketplaces like Amazon or payment platforms like Klarna could expand Dillard’s customer reach. Implementing a shared inventory model with Amazon could increase order volume by 30-40% as a part of the plan and process.

Threats – Dillards SWOT Analysis

threats to dillards

Rising Costs: Many economic crises are occurring, and persistent inflation and supply chain issues are increasing operating costs. Examining the data from the last few years, transportation and raw material expenses reduced Dillard’s gross margin by 100 basis points in 2023, and the squeeze on margins is projected to continue in the near future.

Lawsuits: In recent years, Dillard’s has faced several pending lawsuits alleging racial and gender discrimination in pay and promotions. With legal expenses increasing, unfavorable rulings could result in damages over $100M by some estimates, and it could increase if more lawsuits are incoming.

Competition: The shift to e-commerce and the growth of discount chains threaten Dillard’s customer base after COVID-19 and the pandemic. Besides, losing further ground to Amazon, Walmart, and off-price retailers could accelerate traffic declines. As a result, Dillard’s store traffic dropped over 15% in 2023 as consumers shifted spending.

[Bonus Infographic] SWOT Analysis of Dillards

dillards swot analysis infographic template

Recommendations for Dillards

Here are some recommendations for Dillard’s in the coming years.

  • Optimize pricing and promotions through demand forecasting analytics to protect margins.
  • Expand e-commerce order fulfillment capabilities via small-format stores in new suburban markets.
  • Resolve ongoing litigation quickly through settlements to avoid further brand damage and financial penalties.
  • Form strategic partnerships with leading online marketplaces to access wider customer reach.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

William Thomas Dillard founded Dillards.

Yes, Dillard's is expensive.

Final Words on Dillards SWOT Analysis

Dillard’s has strengths in its brand equity, supply chain, and employee expertise but faces weaknesses from declining store productivity, high costs, lawsuits, and e-commerce channel limitations. Optimizing pricing, expanding omnichannel fulfillment, resolving litigation, and forming strategic partnerships are imperative to address threats of margin erosion, legal risks, and intensifying retail competition. Implementing these recommendations can help Dillard’s leverage its core strengths to modernize operations and return to profitable growth in line with shifting consumer preferences for in-store and online shopping.


  • Wikipedia contributors. (n.d.). Dillard’s. Wikipedia.

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