Belk Q1 Profit Down 32%, Sales Flat

BelkCharlotte, NC—Belk Inc. reported Wednesday that its Q1 profit plummeted 32% due to flat sales and increased expenses.

For the quarter ended May 3, the department store company posted net income of $19.3 million compared with $28.2 million a year ago. Net revenue was $955 million flat compared with the same quarter a year ago.

Comparable store sales were down 0.2%. Besides the flat sales, Belk’s expenses grew as the company invested in store remodels and expanding e-commerce capabilities.

Belk has a three year plan for as much as $700 million in spending on these improvements.

“Although the investments we are making in the Company will continue to impact our short term profitability, we are building a solid foundation for long term growth and success,” said CEO Tim Belk.

Online sales grew 42% at Belk, but remained a small part of the company’s overall revenue. Belk said online sales contributed 1.8% to the quarter’s comp sales. Belk also repurchased 1.96 million shares of its common stock for $94.3 million in a transaction completed on May 21.

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Jeff Prine

Jeff Prine, Editor at Large, Accessories Magazine
Jeff returns as a regular contributor to Accessories magazine. Initially Jeff worked as senior editor at Accessories more than 20 years ago and his love of the industry has followed him until present. Since his tenure here, Jeff has continued to report jewelry, watch and other luxury goods trends as executive editor at Modern Jeweler magazine, fashion director at Lustre, and as contributor on products and trends for consumer and trade publications and websites. In addition to his editorial experience, Jeff also served as an adjunct instructor for accessories merchandising at Fashion Institute of Technology. jeffp@busjour.com