Dillard's closing Enid location

Dillards Department Store, located at Enid's Oakwood Mall. (Staff Photo by BONNIE VCULEK)

ENID, Okla. — Dillard's is closing its Enid location at Oakwood Mall, the company confirmed Thursday.

"We will operate the store as a clearance location until its closure around the end of the year," said Julie Johnson Guymon, a spokesperson for Dillard's, Inc. "We strategically close locations from time to time, and such is the case with our Enid store."

Jon Blankenship, president and chief executive officer of Greater Enid Chamber of Commerce, said Thursday afternoon that "was certainly not good news."

"Dillard's is a major retail anchor for Enid and a major drawing card for Enid retail," Blankenship said. "It has important reach in northwest Oklahoma and is an important asset for our retail trade area."

At the company's annual meeting of shareholders in May, Dillard's Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer William Dillard touted the financial strength of the company in its 50th year, having paid off $248 million of long-term debt since January, 2018 and having repurchased 1.7 million shares over the last year.

In its first quarter earnings statement the company reported earnings per share of $2.99, up from $2.89 the previous year, and a net income of $78.6 million compared to $80.5 million for the same period last year.

Dillard told shareholders in May the company was in a fight to maintain its brick-and-mortar presence.

“Mall-based retailing is going through a difficult time," Dillard said in May. “Our job is to be open next year. We’re going to be one of the leaders and still get to play tomorrow.”

Sb Retail Group Carlsbad, LLC, the owners of Oakwood Mall, were not immediately available for comment Thursday.

Blankenship said, while it's bad news Dillard's is moving out, he hopes the loss of the anchor store will make the owners "more proactive about retail recruitment and improving the mall, or at least about selling it to someone who is."

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Neal is health, military affairs and religion reporter and columnist for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @jamesnealwriter, and online at jamesrneal.com. He can be reached at jneal@enidnews.com.

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