Makeover at Dillard's: Store Moving Upscale, Adding More Fashion

As activist investors raise the heat, Dillard's Inc. says its turnaround strategy is sound but concedes that reinventing a department store takes time.

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Dillard's push to develop and market its private brands began in 2002 when Vince Camuto designed the chain's Gianni Bini contemporary brand, which now includes shoes, apparel and handbags.

Dillard's will open nine new stores this year, most in the first half, all in open-air lifestyle centers in smaller markets, such as Ocala, Fla., which opens this month.

Dillard said improved sales training, replenishment and distribution will help the retailer execute its product strategy more efficiently.

"We can't blame the weather or the economy or anything else. We just have to play our game and focus on being great," he said.

"There's a wide country between New York and Los Angeles," Stockman said. "We will continue to push fashion, bring it to the heartland, and our challenge is to get that message out."

Store Photos by MARK PETKO; Dillard by ZACK SECKLER
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