Belk Comps Advance, Investments Hit Bottom Line

For the fourth quarter, Belk, Inc., posted net income of $104.4 million versus $96.3 million in the year-earlier period. Revenues were $1.39 billion versus $1.32 billion in the period a year prior while comparable store sales were up 4.8%, according to the company.

Operating income in the fourth quarter was $172.3 million versus $160 million in last year’s period. Online sales gained 42.2% in the quarter year over year, the company added.

For the full fiscal year, net income was $146.1 million versus $158.5 million in the year earlier. Revenues were $4.11 billion versus $4.04 billion in the year prior while comps were up 1.5%.

Operating income in the 2014 fiscal year was $271.4 million versus $288.2 million last year. Online sales advanced 43.3% year over year.

The decline in net income in the 2014 fiscal year came about because of investments in strategic initiatives, Belk asserted. In the year, SG&A expenses increased to $1.06 billion from $1.02 billion in the 2013 fiscal year, the company related.

Tim Belk, chairman and CEO of Belk, Inc., stated, “Despite challenges early in the year, we ended fiscal year 2015 with strong holiday sales and are pleased to report our fifth consecutive year of positive comparable store sales. Although our annual earnings continue to be impacted by additional expense associated with key strategic initiatives, fourth quarter net income rose 8.3% on a sales increase of 5%. We are encouraged by the recent trends and believe we are well positioned for the year ahead.”

Belk maintained that it had invested more than $79 million in store expansion and remodeling projects last year, including the opening of new flagship stores in Dallas, TX, and Huntsville, AL, and a new store at Denham Springs/Livingston Parish, LA.

In addition, the company announced the 2015 debut of new stores in Bristol, TN and Jacksonville, FL, along with a major expansion and remodel of its flagship stores in Columbia, SC and Franklin, TN. In fiscal 2015, Belk also announced the expansion of its e-commerce fulfillment center in Union County, SC, from 500,000 to 840,000 square feet.