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Company > Dillard's: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Dillard's: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Apr 21, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into the comprehensive analysis of Dillard's, a leading American department store chain. We will examine its business model, which encompasses a wide range of branded and private-label merchandise, as well as its strategic positioning in the retail industry. Additionally, we will conduct a SWOT analysis to assess Dillard's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Lastly, we will identify its key competitors, exploring their strategies and market presence as we look ahead to the year 2023.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns Dillard's and the significance of their ownership in relation to the company's operations and decision-making.
    • The mission statement of Dillard's and how it guides the company's overall goals and strategies.
    • How Dillard's makes money by exploring its revenue streams and key business strategies.
    • An explanation of Dillard's Business Model Canvas, providing insights into the company's key activities, resources, and value proposition.
    • Identification of Dillard's competitors in the retail industry and an understanding of the competitive landscape.
    • An overview of Dillard's SWOT analysis, highlighting its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market.

    Who owns Dillard's?

    Dillard's Ownership: A Family-Led Business

    Dillard's, a prominent American department store chain, is primarily owned and operated by the Dillard family. Founded by William T. Dillard in 1938, the company has remained under family control for over eight decades. This commitment to family ownership has played a significant role in shaping the company's values, culture, and long-term strategy.

    The Dillard Family Legacy

    The Dillard family's involvement in the retail industry dates back to the early 1900s when William Dillard's parents owned a small variety store in Nashville, Arkansas. Inspired by his family's entrepreneurial spirit, William T. Dillard ventured into the retail business and opened his first store in 1938. He laid the foundation for what would become one of the largest and most successful department store chains in the United States.

    A Strong Leadership Continuum

    The Dillard family has ensured a seamless transition of leadership through generations. After William T. Dillard's retirement in 1998, his son, William Dillard II, took over as the CEO of the company. Under his leadership, Dillard's continued to expand, adapt to changing market dynamics, and innovate in the retail industry.

    Today, the third generation of the Dillard family is actively involved in the business. William Dillard III, the grandson of the founder, serves as the Vice President of Real Estate Development. This multi-generational commitment to the company's success has helped maintain the family's influence and long-term vision.

    Family Ownership and Corporate Governance

    As a family-led business, Dillard's has a unique approach to corporate governance. The Dillard family maintains a significant ownership stake in the company, allowing them to exercise significant control over strategic decisions. This ownership structure aligns the family's interests with those of the company, fostering a strong sense of accountability and a focus on long-term sustainability.

    The family's close involvement in the company's operations ensures that their values and vision are preserved. This commitment to family ownership has contributed to the company's ability to remain resilient in an ever-changing retail landscape.


    Dillard's is a shining example of a family-led business that has thrived through generations. The Dillard family's dedication to maintaining ownership and leadership has been instrumental in shaping the company's success. As Dillard's continues to adapt to the evolving retail industry, its commitment to family ownership serves as a foundation for its continued growth and innovation.

    What is the mission statement of Dillard's?

    The Mission Statement of Dillard's: A Commitment to Providing Quality Products and Exceptional Customer Service

    Dillard's is a well-established department store chain with a strong reputation for offering a wide range of high-quality products and exceptional customer service. At the core of Dillard's business philosophy is its mission statement, which reflects the company's commitment to its customers and various stakeholders.

    Dillard's mission statement is centered around providing customers with the best shopping experience possible. The company aims to achieve this by offering a superior selection of merchandise, excellent value for money, and outstanding customer service. Dillard's understands that customers have high expectations, and it strives to meet and exceed those expectations in every interaction.

    One of the key elements of Dillard's mission statement is a focus on quality products. The company emphasizes offering an extensive range of high-quality merchandise from renowned brands. Whether it's clothing, accessories, cosmetics, or home goods, Dillard's ensures that its customers have access to the best products available in the market.

    Another important aspect of Dillard's mission statement is its commitment to providing exceptional customer service. Dillard's recognizes that customer satisfaction is paramount to its success, and it aims to deliver a memorable shopping experience to every customer. From knowledgeable and friendly sales associates to convenient store layouts, Dillard's prioritizes creating an environment where customers feel valued and supported.

    Furthermore, Dillard's mission statement emphasizes the importance of offering excellent value for money. The company understands that customers want quality products at competitive prices, and it strives to deliver on this expectation. Dillard's frequently offers promotions, discounts, and loyalty programs to ensure that customers receive the best value for their purchases.

    In summary, Dillard's mission statement reflects its commitment to providing quality products and exceptional customer service. By focusing on these core values, Dillard's aims to create a shopping experience that exceeds customer expectations and ensures their satisfaction. Whether through its extensive selection of merchandise, outstanding customer service, or competitive pricing, Dillard's remains dedicated to its mission of delivering excellence to its customers.

    How does Dillard's make money?

    Retail Sales

    The primary source of revenue for Dillard's is through retail sales. As a department store chain, Dillard's operates numerous brick-and-mortar locations across the United States. These stores offer a wide range of products, including clothing, accessories, cosmetics, home furnishings, and more. Dillard's generates revenue by selling these products to consumers at marked-up prices.


    In addition to physical stores, Dillard's has also expanded its presence in the online marketplace. The company operates an e-commerce website that allows customers to browse and purchase products from the comfort of their homes. Through this online platform, Dillard's generates revenue by selling products online and delivering them to customers' doorsteps. The convenience of e-commerce has significantly contributed to the company's overall revenue growth.

    Exclusive Brands and Designer Collaborations

    Dillard's also generates revenue through the sale of exclusive brands and designer collaborations. The company partners with renowned fashion designers and brands to create exclusive collections that are only available at Dillard's stores or website. These limited-edition products often come with a higher price tag, attracting fashion enthusiasts and loyal customers who are willing to pay a premium for unique and high-quality items. The exclusivity of these collaborations helps Dillard's stand out from its competitors and drives additional revenue.

    Credit Card Services

    Another significant revenue stream for Dillard's comes from its credit card services. The company offers its own branded credit card, allowing customers to make purchases on credit and pay off the balance over time. Dillard's charges interest and fees on outstanding balances, generating revenue from the interest payments made by customers. Additionally, the credit card program encourages customer loyalty, as cardholders often receive special discounts, rewards, and exclusive offers, further driving sales and revenue for the company.

    Other Services

    Dillard's also diversifies its revenue streams through various other services. This includes offering alterations and tailoring services to customers, which generate additional income. The company may also generate revenue through renting out retail space within its stores to other businesses, such as beauty salons, boutiques, or restaurants. By leveraging its physical store locations, Dillard's maximizes its income potential beyond just retail sales.

    In conclusion, Dillard's makes money primarily through retail sales and e-commerce. However, the company also benefits from exclusive brands, designer collaborations, credit card services, and additional services offered within its stores. By diversifying its revenue streams, Dillard's ensures a stable and sustainable income while catering to a wide range of customer needs and preferences.

    Dillard's Business Model Canvas Explained

    What is the Business Model Canvas?

    The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that helps organizations to visualize, analyze, and design their business models. It provides a holistic view of how a company creates, delivers, and captures value. Developed by Alexander Osterwalder, the Business Model Canvas is widely used by entrepreneurs, startups, and established businesses alike.

    Understanding Dillard's Business Model Canvas

    Dillard's, a popular American department store chain, utilizes the Business Model Canvas to outline its key components and understand how it operates within the retail industry. Let's take a closer look at the various elements of Dillard's Business Model Canvas:

    1. Customer Segments

    Dillard's identifies its customer segments based on parameters such as demographics, psychographics, and buying behavior. Their target customers include both men and women of various age groups, who are interested in quality fashion apparel, accessories, cosmetics, and home goods.

    2. Value Proposition

    Dillard's value proposition lies in providing customers with a wide range of branded and high-quality products, combined with exceptional customer service. They strive to offer a unique shopping experience with an extensive selection of merchandise, competitive pricing, and knowledgeable sales associates.

    3. Channels

    Dillard's operates through multiple channels to reach its customers. In addition to its brick-and-mortar stores, the company also maintains an online presence through its e-commerce website. This omnichannel approach enables customers to shop conveniently through their preferred channel.

    4. Customer Relationships

    To build and maintain strong customer relationships, Dillard's focuses on delivering excellent customer service. They train their sales associates to provide personalized assistance, offer fashion advice, and ensure customer satisfaction. Dillard's also engages with customers through loyalty programs, marketing campaigns, and social media platforms.

    5. Revenue Streams

    Dillard's revenue primarily comes from the sale of merchandise in its stores and online. They generate income through a combination of selling its own branded products, as well as products from various fashion brands and designers. Additionally, the company offers credit card services to customers, which contribute to its revenue streams.

    6. Key Activities

    Dillard's key activities include sourcing and purchasing merchandise from suppliers, managing inventory, operating its physical stores and online platform, marketing and promoting its products, and providing exceptional customer service. They also focus on analyzing market trends, forecasting demand, and staying up-to-date with the latest fashion trends.

    7. Key Resources

    Dillard's key resources include its physical stores, e-commerce platform, inventory management systems, supply chain network, partnerships with fashion brands, and a team of experienced sales associates. Additionally, the company relies on its strong brand reputation and customer loyalty to support its operations.

    8. Key Partnerships

    Dillard's forms strategic partnerships with various fashion brands, designers, and suppliers to offer a diverse range of products to its customers. These partnerships help Dillard's to stay relevant in the market and meet the evolving demands of its target audience. The company also collaborates with credit card companies to provide financial services to customers.

    9. Cost Structure

    Dillard's cost structure includes expenses related to purchasing inventory, maintaining physical stores, operating its e-commerce platform, marketing and advertising, employee salaries, and technological investments. The company strives to optimize costs while ensuring the quality of products and services offered.


    By utilizing the Business Model Canvas, Dillard's gains a comprehensive overview of its business model and how each component contributes to its success. This tool helps Dillard's to identify areas of improvement, adapt to changing market conditions, and innovate to remain competitive in the retail industry.

    Which companies are the competitors of Dillard's?

    Direct Competitors

    Dillard's faces direct competition from several prominent department stores in the United States. These competitors offer a similar range of products and cater to a similar customer base. Some notable direct competitors of Dillard's include:

    1. Macy's: Macy's is one of the largest department store chains in the country, with a strong presence in both brick-and-mortar retail and e-commerce. Like Dillard's, Macy's offers a wide variety of merchandise, including clothing, accessories, home goods, and beauty products. Both retailers often target similar demographics and compete for market share.

    2. Nordstrom: Nordstrom is renowned for its high-end fashion offerings and superior customer service. While Dillard's also carries upscale brands, Nordstrom has built a reputation for its curated selection and luxury shopping experience. The two companies often compete for customers seeking premium fashion and personalized service.

    3. Kohl's: Although Kohl's operates in the mid-tier segment of the department store market, it competes directly with Dillard's due to its wide range of affordable fashion and home goods. Kohl's emphasizes value and frequent promotional offers, attracting price-conscious consumers who may also consider shopping at Dillard's for similar products.

    Indirect Competitors

    Besides direct competitors, Dillard's also faces competition from other retail formats and online platforms. These indirect competitors may not fall under the department store category but still attract the same target audience. Some notable indirect competitors of Dillard's include:

    1. Amazon: As the largest online retailer globally, Amazon poses a significant threat to traditional department stores like Dillard's. With its extensive product selection, competitive prices, and convenient shopping experience, Amazon attracts a wide range of customers, including those who may have otherwise visited Dillard's for their shopping needs.

    2. Zara: Zara is a fast-fashion retailer known for its trendy clothing and quick turnaround of new styles. Although Zara primarily operates through its own stores and online platform, its ability to offer fashionable merchandise at affordable prices competes with Dillard's in attracting young and trend-conscious shoppers.

    3. Target: Target is a popular discount retailer that carries a broad range of products, including clothing, home goods, electronics, and groceries. While Target's product assortment may not be as extensive as Dillard's, its focus on affordable prices and convenient one-stop shopping appeals to a broad customer base that may overlap with Dillard's target audience.

    By being aware of its direct and indirect competitors, Dillard's can strategically position itself in the market and adapt its offerings to maintain its competitive edge.

    Dillard's SWOT Analysis


    • Established brand: Dillard's is a well-known and respected brand in the retail industry. With over 300 stores across the United States, Dillard's has built a strong presence in the market.

    • Wide product range: The company offers a wide variety of products, including apparel, accessories, cosmetics, and home goods. This diverse product range allows Dillard's to cater to a broad customer base and capture different market segments.

    • Strong customer loyalty: Dillard's has managed to cultivate a loyal customer base over the years. The company's focus on providing quality products, excellent customer service, and a pleasant shopping experience has contributed to the loyalty of its customers.

    • Strong financial performance: Dillard's has consistently delivered strong financial results. Despite the challenges faced by the retail industry, the company has managed to generate steady revenue and maintain healthy profit margins.


    • Limited online presence: Compared to its competitors, Dillard's online presence is relatively weak. The company's e-commerce platform lacks the same level of functionality and user experience as some of its peers. This weakness puts Dillard's at a disadvantage in the increasingly digital retail landscape.

    • Geographic concentration: Dillard's stores are primarily located in the southern and midwestern regions of the United States. This geographic concentration exposes the company to regional economic fluctuations and limits its potential market reach.

    • Slow adaptation to changing consumer trends: Dillard's has been slow to adapt to changing consumer preferences and trends. This reluctance to embrace new retail strategies and technologies may hinder the company's ability to attract and retain customers in an evolving market.


    • E-commerce expansion: Dillard's has the opportunity to expand and enhance its online presence. By investing in technology and improving its e-commerce platform, the company can tap into the growing online retail market and reach a wider customer base.

    • International expansion: Although Dillard's primarily operates in the United States, there is an opportunity for the company to expand internationally. By exploring new markets outside of the U.S., Dillard's can diversify its revenue streams and reduce its dependence on the domestic market.

    • Collaboration with popular brands: Partnering with popular brands and designers can help Dillard's attract a younger and more fashion-forward customer base. By offering exclusive collaborations and limited-edition collections, the company can differentiate itself and create excitement among consumers.


    • Intense competition: The retail industry is highly competitive, with numerous players vying for market share. Dillard's faces fierce competition from both traditional brick-and-mortar retailers and online giants, which may impact its market position and profitability.

    • Economic downturns: Dillard's is susceptible to economic downturns and fluctuations in consumer spending. During periods of economic uncertainty, consumers may reduce their discretionary spending, leading to a decline in sales for the company.

    • Changing consumer behavior: Consumer preferences and behaviors are constantly evolving, driven by factors such as technology and social trends. Dillard's must stay attuned to these changes and adapt its strategies accordingly to ensure continued relevance and appeal to its target audience.

    Key Takeaways

    • Dillard's is a publicly traded company, meaning it is owned by shareholders who own its stock.
    • The mission statement of Dillard's is to deliver fashion and quality at the best value, while providing excellent customer service.
    • Dillard's generates revenue primarily through the sale of apparel, cosmetics, accessories, and home furnishings in its department stores.
    • Dillard's business model is based on offering a wide range of high-quality merchandise, maintaining a strong brand reputation, and delivering exceptional customer service.
    • Competitors of Dillard's include other department stores like Macy's and Nordstrom, as well as online retailers such as Amazon and Zappos.
    • In terms of SWOT analysis, Dillard's strengths lie in its strong brand and customer loyalty, while its weaknesses include limited online presence. Opportunities for Dillard's include expanding into new markets, but threats include intense competition and changing consumer preferences.


    In conclusion, Dillard's is a well-established retail company that has been in business for over 80 years. As a family-owned business, it is currently owned by the Dillard family. The mission statement of Dillard's is to deliver exceptional value and style to its customers through an array of high-quality merchandise.

    Dillard's primarily generates its revenue through the sale of clothing, accessories, cosmetics, and home furnishings. The company operates a department store business model, offering a wide range of products across various departments. By providing a curated selection of fashionable and exclusive brands, Dillard's aims to appeal to a broad customer base.

    Analyzing Dillard's business model canvas, we can see that the company focuses on key activities such as merchandising, marketing, and customer service. Through its strong network of suppliers, Dillard's ensures a consistent supply of quality products. Additionally, the company invests in effective marketing strategies to attract and retain customers, while also providing exceptional customer service to enhance the overall shopping experience.

    In terms of competition, Dillard's faces numerous competitors in the retail industry. Major competitors include Macy's, Nordstrom, and Bloomingdale's, which offer similar products and target a similar customer base. These companies compete for market share by offering competitive pricing, unique assortments, and a seamless shopping experience.

    Lastly, a SWOT analysis of Dillard's reveals its strengths in brand reputation, strong vendor relationships, and a loyal customer base. However, the company also faces challenges such as increasing online competition and changing consumer preferences. By leveraging its strengths and addressing weaknesses, Dillard's can continue to thrive in the ever-evolving retail landscape.

    Overall, Dillard's remains a prominent player in the retail industry, driven by its commitment to delivering quality products and exceptional customer service. With a strong mission statement and a well-defined business model, Dillard's continues to adapt and innovate to stay relevant in a highly competitive market.


    What is the competitive advantage of Dillards?

    Dillard's competitive advantage lies in several key areas:

    1. Wide Range of Merchandise: Dillard's offers a broad selection of products across various categories, including apparel, cosmetics, home goods, and accessories. This extensive product range allows them to cater to a diverse customer base and meet various consumer needs.

    2. Strong Brand Portfolio: Dillard's carries a mix of well-known national and international brands, as well as its private label brands. This diverse brand portfolio enhances customer trust and loyalty, providing shoppers with a wide range of choices and ensuring quality products.

    3. Customer Service: Dillard's emphasizes excellent customer service, aiming to provide a personalized and enjoyable shopping experience. Their well-trained sales associates are knowledgeable about the products they sell and are committed to assisting customers with their needs, ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty.

    4. Physical Store Presence: Dillard's operates numerous brick-and-mortar stores across the United States, strategically located in both regional malls and local communities. This physical presence allows them to reach a wider customer base and engage with customers directly, fostering stronger relationships.

    5. Strong Supply Chain Management: Dillard's efficient supply chain management enables them to effectively manage inventory, reduce lead times, and respond quickly to changing customer demands. This allows them to offer a wide variety of products promptly, ensuring customer satisfaction and minimizing stockouts.

    6. Pricing Strategy: Dillard's employs a competitive pricing strategy, offering quality products at affordable prices. They often run promotions, sales, and clearance events, attracting price-sensitive customers while also maintaining profit margins.

    7. Loyalty Program: Dillard's has a robust loyalty program called Dillard's Rewards, which offers various benefits and perks to its members, such as exclusive discounts, birthday rewards, and early access to sales events. This program encourages repeat purchases and helps to retain loyal customers.

    By leveraging these competitive advantages, Dillard's aims to differentiate itself from competitors and maintain its position as a leading department store retailer.

    What are the core competencies of Dillards?

    Dillard's, a department store chain in the United States, has several core competencies that contribute to its success in the retail industry. These core competencies include:

    1. Wide range of merchandise: Dillard's offers a diverse selection of products, including apparel, cosmetics, accessories, and home goods. Its ability to provide a comprehensive range of merchandise allows it to cater to a wide customer base and meet various customer needs.

    2. Strong vendor relationships: Dillard's maintains strong relationships with a wide range of vendors to ensure a consistent supply of high-quality products. These relationships enable the company to secure competitive pricing, exclusive merchandise, and maintain inventory levels.

    3. Customer service excellence: Dillard's places a strong emphasis on customer service, aiming to provide a positive shopping experience for its customers. The company invests in training its employees to deliver exceptional service, including product knowledge, personal assistance, and efficient problem-solving.

    4. Store layout and visual merchandising: Dillard's excels in creating visually appealing store layouts and merchandising displays. The company's stores are designed to be aesthetically pleasing and easy to navigate, enhancing the overall shopping experience for customers.

    5. Brand reputation and loyalty: Dillard's has built a strong brand reputation over the years, known for its quality products and customer service. This reputation fosters customer loyalty and attracts new customers, contributing to its competitive advantage in the retail market.

    6. Strong regional presence: Dillard's has a strong regional presence, with stores strategically located across the United States. This allows the company to cater to specific regional preferences and target local customer demographics effectively.

    7. Efficient supply chain management: Dillard's effectively manages its supply chain to ensure timely delivery of products to its stores. This includes efficient inventory management, distribution, and logistics, minimizing stockouts and maximizing sales opportunities.

    These core competencies collectively contribute to Dillard's success in the retail industry, allowing it to differentiate itself from competitors and thrive in a highly competitive market.

    What is the strategy of Dillards?

    Dillard's is a department store chain that has a strategy focused on providing a wide range of merchandise, high-quality customer service, and maintaining a strong presence in the markets it serves. Here are some key elements of Dillard's strategy:

    1. Product Mix: Dillard's aims to offer a diverse selection of merchandise across different categories including apparel, cosmetics, accessories, home goods, and more. They focus on carrying brands that cater to a broad customer base, considering both popular and niche products.

    2. Customer Service: Dillard's places a strong emphasis on providing excellent customer service. They aim to create a welcoming and helpful shopping experience for customers, with well-trained staff available to assist shoppers, answer questions, and provide personalized recommendations.

    3. Store Locations: Dillard's strategy involves maintaining a strong presence in the markets they serve. They strategically choose store locations in malls and shopping centers to target a wide range of customers. They also focus on having a presence in both urban and suburban areas.

    4. Competitiveness: Dillard's aims to remain competitive in the retail industry by constantly monitoring market trends and adjusting their product offerings accordingly. They strive to stay up-to-date with fashion trends and consumer preferences, ensuring their merchandise appeals to their target market.

    5. E-commerce: Dillard's recognizes the importance of online retail and has established a strong e-commerce presence. They offer an online shopping platform, providing customers with the convenience of browsing and purchasing products from their website, along with options for in-store pickup and returns.

    6. Marketing and Promotions: Dillard's uses various marketing techniques to attract customers and drive sales. They utilize traditional advertising channels, such as print media and television, as well as digital marketing strategies to reach a wider audience. They also offer promotions, discounts, and loyalty programs to incentivize customer purchases.

    Overall, Dillard's strategy revolves around offering a diverse product mix, providing exceptional customer service, maintaining a strong physical and online presence, staying competitive in the market, and utilizing effective marketing techniques to attract and retain customers.

    How can I find a SWOT analysis on a company?

    There are several ways to find a SWOT analysis on a company:

    1. Company website: Start by visiting the official website of the company you are interested in. Many companies publish their own SWOT analysis or provide information that can help you conduct one yourself.

    2. Annual reports: Publicly traded companies are required to file annual reports with regulatory bodies, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the United States. These reports often contain detailed information about the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

    3. Industry reports and market research: Various market research firms, industry associations, and financial institutions publish reports that include SWOT analyses on different companies. These reports can often be accessed through paid databases or subscriptions.

    4. Business news and magazines: Stay updated with business news publications and magazines, as they often publish articles and analysis that include SWOT assessments on companies.

    5. Online databases and research platforms: There are several online platforms and databases like Bloomberg, MarketResearch.com, or IBISWorld that provide access to SWOT analyses and other relevant information on companies. Some of these platforms may require a subscription or payment to access the reports.

    6. Academic resources: University libraries and academic databases can be a valuable source for finding SWOT analyses. Search for academic journals, research papers, or case studies related to the company you are interested in.

    7. Professional analysts and consultants: Consulting firms and financial analysts often produce SWOT analyses for companies. While some reports may be proprietary or available only to clients, you may find summaries or excerpts of these reports through industry publications or online sources.

    Remember, a SWOT analysis is a subjective assessment, and the sources you refer to should be reliable and credible. It is always recommended to cross-reference multiple sources to get a comprehensive view of the company's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.

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