Dillard's Inc reported on Tuesday a quarterly profit from a year-ago loss, helped by a tax benefit and a move to slash inventory to counter weak consumer spending.

The chain reported net profit of $8 million, or 11 cents a share, in the third quarter ended Oct. 31, from a $56 million loss, or 76 cents a share, a year earlier. The 2009 quarter included an income tax benefit of 14 cents per share.

Dillard's reported sales fell 9.9 percent to $1.36 billion in the third quarter. It said gross margins had risen 4.2 percent during the quarter.

Inventory was lowered by 22 percent compared to a year earlier.

(Reporting by Phil Wahba, editing by Dave Zimmerman)